The Year of Engineering 2018 took on special significance in West Berkshire as hundreds of young people converged from schools across the county to take part in a day-long Festival of Engineering, co-hosted by Richard Benyon MP with his neighbouring MP for North West Hampshire, Kit Malthouse.

The Festival took place in Xtrac’s new factory space in Thatcham, which was formally opened on Thursday 8th November by Prime Minister Theresa May.

Richard commented, ‘Engineering is a thriving sector in West Berkshire and we have some of the most innovative and enterprising companies in the world based right here in the Thames Valley. Our aim in organising this Festival was to try and inspire the next generation of engineers. I was very pleased that our schools reacted so positively to the invitation – it was great to see so many young people here – and we are very grateful to all the companies involved. They put on some amazing challenges which really involved and engaged the students. I hope it will encourage them to see the huge diversity of careers available in engineering and to look at STEM subjects when they make their GCSE choices.

‘We owe a great debt of gratitude to Peter Digby and his team at Xtrac for their generosity in allowing us to use their Kennet Park premises and for giving up their time to make the day such a success. We also want to thank the Education Business Partnership West Berkshire which did such a great job in organising and delivering the day, and the Dyson Foundation for its generous financial support.’