Updated: Aug 27, 2022
I was sat in a HODs (Head of Department) meeting this week at school and the discussion topic was – “Raising the profile of your subject”. After a lot of discussion of different ways to encourage sixth formers to pick subjects other than science and maths – now that they can only take 3 A Levels – it was decided that trips were a major way to get noticed. Not just that students might want to study the subject because of the trips, because I think it's more than that. More than the publicity from the trips, such as photos on social media, would highlight that the subject is more than packaging biscuits, quizzes and talking about shopping.
So – to get to my point a few good trips during the year, get the students out and about and bring the subject to life. My opinion on factory tours is that they are essential. Otherwise teaching production is like trying to teach swimming by using a book. Students need to see a robot, to see a kanban being used and to see a kaizen team having a discussion.
I live in the Midlands in the UK and we are lucky that there are a number of trips that we can take. On Monday I was at JLR (Jaguar Landrover) in Solihull with a group of 40. They have a dedicated education centre and they conduct lots of activities and will give presentations on any topics that they let them know in advance. We were looking for lean management and robotics – to fit in with business, DT and geography as a cross-curricular trip. It also included a superb walking tour of the factory – if you have any students with mobility problems they are going to struggle as it was an hour and a half of walking which included steps up and over the robots. The interesting fact they don’t use the kanban system they have a button on the wall to press when they only have 10 left but they do practice JIT almost everywhere in the factory. No photos are allowed by JLR, so I have nothing to show you. The cost for 40 students was £590 for a whole day – this did not include lunch or the coach.
Toyota at Derby also do a superb trip but they are not doing tours this year.
Denby – £6 a student will get you an hour walk round the factory showing lots of recycling and zero wastage techniques plus job batch and flow all in action. You can also make a frog which the students can keep and paint a plate which they can have fired and you can collect at a later date. There is a shopping village and a very nice cafe so it's great for sixth formers but we could only stretch it to 4 hours on the site so be advised a whole day you would have too much slack.
I hope this has been helpful.