AN engineer, who works for a major engineering and architecture firm in Europe, has led a firm's bid to inspire the North-East's next generation of engineers in the town he grew up.

Ben Sickling, a principle engineer at Sweden-based Sweco, visited a Redcar school to host three-week long courses, with three groups of six-year-old pupils at Zetland Primary School.

Sweco, which helps in the development of sustainable buildings and infrastructure in towns and cities across 70 countries, claims it makes around £1.6bn in sales each year.

The Northern Echo:

Ben Sickling, with the Zetland Primary School children

Mr Sickling, who works at the firm's Teesside office in Stockton, helped to organise, fundraise and launch a series of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) projects, led by Sweco, for the region's up and coming engineers.

As part of activities, pupils spent their time constructing their own games from kits designed and made by Sunderland-based, Technology Tom.

Players of their very own 'Buzz Off' then challenged each other, guiding a metal loop around a piece of wire, trying to get round, without touching the sides or setting off an alarm.

Stuart Wilson, technical director at Sweco, said the events were "important" in encouraging the region's next generation of engineers.

He said: “STEM knowledge has a central role to play in developing solutions to some of society’s biggest challenges, spanning industries as diverse as transport, energy and healthcare.

“This is why it’s so important that we encourage engagement with these subjects from a young age, as Ben has helped do at Zetland Primary School, and continue to support young people throughout their time in education, showing how exciting a career in STEM can be and highlighting the range of routes that they can take into the sector.

“All of our team are North-East locals who have entered the industry through a variety of pathways. Our experience working with a multinational company like Sweco also clearly demonstrates that there are opportunities for our youth to stay locally, but work globally.”

The firm said the visit to Zetland Primary School was part of its outreach activities, being run in an effort to inspire young people to get into the industry.

Simon English, headmaster at Zetland Primary School, added that the series of courses had been a "runaway success."

He said: "Through the activities, I’ve seen childrens’ personalities really come out and we’ve had great reactions from those that took part. Our thanks to Ben and all those involved for their time and effort.”

Following success, Mr Sickling said he was now in discussions with the school to run further initiatives next year for Year five and six students.