THE Peterlee branch of a global automotive manufacturer has created a team of workers to inspire the next generation of engineers.

Several staff members from ZF TRW Peterlee have joined the company’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) Ambassador team.

The group’s main focus is to inspire the region’s young people into careers born out of pursuing STEM subjects – and, one day, potentially join the growing ZF TRW team.

The ambassadors will visit schools, colleges and universities, support activities and host on-site events, and get involved in other employment events in the area.

The team is made up of representatives from across the site based on Peterlee Business Park, including Adam Tobin, Michael Liddle, and Ian Langley from the Quality Lab, along with Vlad Arsene from Quality Customer Support.

Ian Newton, from the Maintenance Department, Continuous Improvement’s Diane McGeorge, and Carolyn Bird from Human Resources (HR), are also members of the volunteer group.

Carolyn, who is ZF TRW’s HR Lead for organisational and employee development, said: “The ZF TRW STEM team was set up ultimately help to engage, inspire and hopefully attract our next generation of engineers in the local area, showing the region’s youngsters that such a career can be both interesting and rewarding.

“The team will go out to events and to schools, colleges and universities, to engage with pupils and students in a bid to do our bit in closing the skills gap which exists within the area.

“One day some of the pupils we meet as part of these initiatives could end up working for ZF TRW.”

She added: “It’s satisfying to engage with the local community too, as well as seeing the team members boost their own professional development.”

ZF TRW has worked closely with the STEM Ambassadors Programme, which co-ordinates activities and groups.

Carol Harrison, network manager for STEM Ambassador Hub North East, said: “It’s well known that not enough kids are studying STEM subjects or following through into STEM careers.

“Taking STEM Ambassadors into schools to work with students helps to dispel the stereotypes that ‘engineering is oily and dirty’, ‘it’s not for bright kids’, ‘it’s not for girls’, and to convince young people that there are real opportunities for rewarding careers in science, technology, engineering and maths.“