STEM Professionals Inspire at Local Primary STEM Gathering

Leighton Park School were delighted to host the second ‘Big Bang Interactive’ yesterday, Tuesday 13th March, following the success of last year’s inaugural event.

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As a key member of the Leighton Park STEM hub Bion were proud to again be active in bringing STEM to a wider primary age audience. In collaboration with EEF Bion delivered the Lego kanban factory game and our two new STEM Ambassadors were there to try to bring order from Chaos during the 3 sessions we ran during the morning event. We would also like to thank those whose generous donations enabled us to donate STEM related prizes so that each school would return armed with the necessary equipment and information to enable them to make sure the enthusiasm from the day remains. Bion would therefore like to thank (in no particular order) EEF, Tata Steel, Enhanced Computers, Fortis recruitment, Magal Engineering and Wilson Tools.

For one of our STEM Ambassadors this was his first experience of supporting such an activity and was a learning curve for him as well. Below he has summarised how something as simplistic as the Lego game (delivered by EEF) can be used to bring about productivity improvements.

The event on the whole was very interesting and entertaining. The Lego experiment we helped with – aimed at teaching children about manufacturing – was great to see. It demonstrated how a complex issue could be resolved so simply with a Lego model. As they became more engaged the children got more and more invested in the activities they were participating in and utilising the Lego provided an effective foundation for the kids to work from, even if initially the task was designed to fail. After the brief descent in to chaos they soon learned that this current process route and set up was not as effective as it could be and were keen to give ideas on why.

Once the production line was reset to be more efficient, they understood how you could strengthen the current process route and streamline production of the Lego unit and turn the current 10-15 minute lead time on 1 order to a 30second lead time. This short exercise gave them a bit of an insight in to the manufacturing world and some issues that they may face in the manufacturing industry, ultimately highlighting different ways of solving these problems using Kanban and Lean. This was such an effective way of getting children involved in STEM and helping them learn simple methods of incredibly productive manufacturing techniques. As they all enjoyed it very much I hope this will get them just as interested in pursuing engineering careers as they get older. Jack Rae – STEM Ambassador Bion.

Karen Gracie-Langrick, Deputy Head (Academic), who masterminded the event with the enthusiastic Leighton Park STEM Hub group, commented, “As part of British Science Week, a ten-day celebration of STEM, the Big Bang Interactive is our largest STEM event to date. Like so many of our other engaging activities and events this forms part of Leighton Park School’s vision to become a STEM Centre of Excellence by 2021. As a school, we are keen to involve students, teachers and industry experts across Berkshire and beyond in creating an interactive and fun STEM experience. Today has been a great success, enabling students to foster new skills and enhance their curiosity in STEM related subjects.

Delivered by STEM professionals from organisations that recognise the value of education in nurturing the next generation of scientists, the workshops were run by companies including Cisco, Bion, Pfizer, Intel and Volume AI as well as higher education researchers such as the Biological Sciences team and RSSL (Reading Scientific Services Ltd) at the University of Reading. Engineering UK and the Institute of Engineering Technology (IET) also added their expertise to the gathering sharing insights and opportunities for future engineers through interactive games.

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The teachers from the attending schools were equally enthusiastic about the morning;

This was excellent” commented Dan Cook, teacher at Whitley Park Primary, “It is something that we find very difficult to do in a primary school.

There were a huge variety of STEM activities” added Claire Logan from Farley Hill Primary, “Wonderful resources. We would love more contact for our Year 5s and 6s.

Helen Williams, from Dolphin School, enjoyed it so much that she would like her students to have stayed for a full day! “Superb! A great range and all the children could be involved regardless of ability.

Reviewing the workshops, Shazia Lone from Alfred Sutton Primary School, enthused, “They really engaged the pupils and demonstrated good problem based learning. They were experiences I am sure they will remember.

Abseil for Parkinson’s

In May this year some of the employees at Bion are taking part in a charity abseil to raise funds for Parkinsons.

We would like to thank Tata Steel for their support in terms of raising money pre this event for this charity event.

Well done Tata – to see how they are supporting Bion here is a summary of what they have done to date, even braving the horrendous weekend weather

In January they started by donating left over Christmas chocolate and had a tuck shop with an honest box for donation.

Paul Floyd in the technical department at Tata arranged for a group of 22 people, some from work, some friends etc to take part this Saturday on a walk around a local nature reserve, Wrens Nest. Out of work Paul runs tours around Wrens Nest, he is full of interesting facts and figures.

They usually take donations, and decided to use Saturdays monies towards the abseil. So a big thank you to him!

Key Points of our trip:

  • The remains of the Lime Kiln
  • Our guide and organiser Paul Flyod
  • The time tunnel gets its name from the TV programme from the 60’s who filmed here.
  • Fossil hunting! We found shells and coral from the days when the West Midlands was underwater in the tropics!

A bit about Wren’s Nest National Nature Reserve… Over 400 million years ago, the area where Dudley now stands was covered by coral reefs and tropical seas providing an environment for the famous fossils we find there today. Over 700 types of fossil are known to have come from Wren’s Nest. 186 of which were first discovered and described here and 86 are found nowhere else on Earth. Wren’s Nest National Nature Reserve is a classic geological site of exceptional importance.

Reading company takes Gold at prestigious regional business awards

R Bion & Co, a Reading-based manufacturer of perforated metal and plastic products, has won regional recognition at this year’s prestigious EEF Future Manufacturing Awards.

R Bion & Co, which employs 30 staff won the Partnerships Award. This award is given to the company that has made the biggest strides in promoting engineering and manufacturing careers by working with education providers or engaging with the local community.

R Bion & Co was up against stiff competition from a range of innovative businesses – small and large – from across the region. It was selected by a panel of judges drawn from business leaders, industry experts, and academics after impressing them with their programme of collaboration that has delivered positive impacts on growth and future collaboration potential.

With the regional title now secured, R Bion & Co will now go on to compete for the national title at an awards gala dinner in London in January next year.

Nick Bion Managing Director at R Bion & Co, says: “Manufacturing and engineering offer great career opportunities but firms still struggle to fill places and to attract the skilled workers they need. We think this is a shame for the firms and the people who are missing out on exciting and rewarding careers. It’s important to raise awareness of this and we’re delighted that our work in this vital field has been recognised.

“It’s fantastic to get this far and now we’re all looking forward to the national finals in January to see how we measure up against the rest of the UK.”

Terry Scuoler CBE, CEO at EEF, says: “Companies that take steps to promote manufacturing amongst their local communities and education providers are essential for providing young people with the skills that will secure our industry into the future. This award is fully deserved and R Bion & Co should be applauded for their efforts. We wish them the best of luck for the national finals.”

For more information about the awards visit: www.eef.org.uk/awards/.

Bion celebrated the retirement

 

On Friday 3rd November the team at Bion celebrated the retirement of Dave Hope who joined the Company in 1988.

When Dave first started he used to be a press operator and mainly worked on the spot welder – welding tubes for the automotive sector.

As the years progressed he moved away from this to become a Press Setter on our Seyi Press.

 
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28 years in the company is an impressive track record and is part of our culture at Bion.

The average length of service is 12 years. Of course, we do have a problem recruiting younger people to our team. In recognition of the problems facing our sector in terms of skills gaps, we have for many years encouraged youngsters into engineering via different routes.

Each year we do work experience with local schools, We take a Year in Industry Student from EDT every year and we endeavor to recruit graduates where possible.

We also currently have an apprentice and we are looking in 2018 – The Year of Engineering to step up our STEM related outreach work.

In the meantime we hope Dave enjoys his retirement, we know he will keep in touch as he is already coming to our Christmas Do.

Good Luck Dave – see you on 9th December

All at Bion

Are you an #EngineerOnAMission?

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Year of Engineering 2018

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2018 will be the Year of Engineering, a year-long government campaign to support the engineering profession in recruiting the next generation of engineers. It seeks to help tackle the engineer shortage, increase parent knowledge and improve diversity within engineering.

Education Business Partnership

Hi Jane

This is just a brief letter to say ‘thank you’ for offering or considering offering work experience during this last academic year. Work experience really helps young people to develop those skills necessary for life in general and improves their work readiness for the future. However, we do recognise the time and effort it takes to organise and administer on your part. We hope you will accept the enclosed certificate as a small token of our appreciation.

Of course we now have the dates for the schools who will be taking part next year! Our mailshot is included with this letter and we hope you will be able to support students again.

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We are receiving more requests for Post 16 placements and for extended placements for 1 or 2 days per week. Some of these students will have skills which will make supporting them more beneficial to your organisation; they may also be more mature in their approach. Most extended placements will be for a finite period of time, usually 5 or 6 weeks and will be regularly monitored either by CBEBP or the school.

We are always very grateful for any type of placement offered, below you can see the breadth of placements that have been offered to students, but we always have a high demand for IT, legal, accounts, healthcare, engineering and science. If you are able to help in any of these areas it will be very much appreciated!

Thank you again for all you do; if we can help at any time please get in touch.

c

Student of the Year Award

EDT – Highly commended in Student of the Year Award.

This award is for the student who has gained the most both personally and professionally from their Year in Industry Placement – Bion are pleased to announce that Dee was awarded Highly Commended for her entry,

Her submission spoke about her development from learning how to set a press and operate toolroom equipment to running the R&D (or as we call it R&Dee) within Bion for the year.

She leaves us shortly to go to Manchester to do Physics and Philosophy and we wish her well.

Pictured below Dee with her proud Mum on the night (3rd July 2017)

Dee

Big Bang Careers Day

Big Bang Careers Day
4th July 2017
Leighton Park School

During the year Bion and others have worked in collaboration with Leighton Park School to assist them in achieving their STEM goals. Earlier in the year we took part in a STEM day aimed at Primary schools within the surrounding areas.

The event on the 4th July was aimed at Year 10 and upwards to demonstrate the range of careers that can be had in STEM.

Bion went with 3 employee, myself as STEM champion, Dee our Year in Industry student via EDT and Darryl who is our apprentice currently at BCOT. Through our network we involved BCOT, EDT and Tomorrows Engineers. It was good to see other manufacturers present such as JLR and engineering and the diverse range of engineering opportunities via AMEC Foster Wheeler.

Hopefully we can start to make inroads into the lack of people taking up STEM careers and I know that next year we will be hoping to do bigger and better events and open this up to more students and companies.

It is clear from this that if we work together then united on the STEM front we can certainly start to make a difference.

BB 4th July

Reducing our Carbon Footprint by 30%

During 2016 the Company took a long hard look at how we could make the factory a more comfortable environment during the coming winter months, as well as reduce our heating bill and as a result reduce our footprint.

We took over the current premises in 2004 and although we had the heating regularly serviced the units were outdated and heavy on gas consumption.  As a result in the very cold snaps despite the heating being turned on the temperature was often commented on, especially Monday mornings.

We also had an area in our goods in and out where despite installing a fast moving door between us and the yard it could suck out the warmth quicker than Christopher Lee as Dracula in a 1970s Hammer Movie.

First off we installed a fast acting shutter door between goods out and the main factory, we then removed the temporary plastic sheeting used to divide the goods out and main perforating area and erected a wall.  We now have a completely segregated goods in and out area, meaning if the shutter door into the yard is open, the cold air remains in this area only and does not blow through the building as a whole.

Putting in the heating took 4 weeks of work from the installation team.  It was business as usual at Bion with everyone looking upwards and looking forwards to the new heating

During the autumns we then installed the new heating and work was completed November 2016.

Despite less gas we are getting a much better result and our shop floor team have a much warmer environment – indeed a new uniform may be forthcoming

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As a result of more efficient heating our gas usage has decreased by 30%, and we have a warm factory.