Wesley Beavan is a Technology Education Instructor at a Richmond high school. After receiving some funding and new machinery through the BCMMAG Fund, he was inspired to organize a 4-week manufacturing summer camp to introduce a group of youth to the world of manufacturing, focusing on metal fabrication and manufacturing.
Students in attendance were introduced to Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines, career options, programming, mechanics, and coding functions. Learning how to run a desktop CNC machine on their own turned out to be a dynamic experience for these summer students! The desktop machine had a controller that was the same as the controller for an industrial-sized machine, allowing the students to practice with confidence and develop manufacturing experience.
A highlight of the summer camp was the progress students made from zero knowledge to being able to manufacture parts. Students were able to understand how to operate a CNC machine, load a program, load material, and navigate problem-solving if their code was not functioning correctly. All of these are quite advanced level technical skills to be adding to their knowledge base, as all students were in or approaching the beginning of their high school experience.
Generating a whole experiential learning environment, Beavan was able to organize the touring of some shops. Tours of the school district facilities yard, Hanson Industries, and Dometic exposed the students to the manufacturing process, protocol, and safety practices. Beavan intends to inspire students to consider manufacturing as a career. He shared, “Training can start as early as elementary school. Allowing youth to see as many options as possible early on helps to introduce opportunities for them in skilled trades.”
Beavan is excited to be providing experiences outside of the typical classroom environment, helping youth open doors beyond what they may be exposed to through family and friends. Working with schools, associations, and industry to introduce the skilled trades provides students with dynamic and memorable experiences to reflect on when choosing a career path that fits them.
A piece of advice Beavan has:
“CNC machines have the same control and code as a 3D printer – if you can run a 3D printer, you have the skills to quickly pick up how to run a CNC machine. So, if resources are limited start students on 3D printing.”
Great BIG Thank You to BCMMAG, CFBC, ITA and School District #38 for making this summer camp possible!
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