BRILLIANT baker Rahul Mandal is using his new-found fame to spearhead a campaign drawing on his other big passion — engineering.
The Rotherham king of the kitchen has been named a STEM ambassador and is out to inspire the next generation of scientists.
When not perfecting his cake recipes and rustling up the sort of sweet treat which won him the crystal cake-stand in Channel 4's Great British Bake-Off in October, works at Sheffield University.
And the University’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre at Waverley enlisted the TV cooking champion to help promote its link-up with Primary Engineer, a national organisation which aims to help schools develop engineering skills among teachers and children.
Rahul was at the launch of the partnership at the MRC Training Centre, where pompoms, sequins and sticky-back plastic were used in a workshop to create shoebox cars.
Children from Dinnington Community Primary helped Deputy Lord Mayor of Sheffield, Cllr Tony Downing, kick-start the campaign.
Rahul said: “Programmes like this are incredibly important for empowering teachers with the right skills.
“They need to bring engineering to life in the classroom in a fun and creative way.
“We need to make a real impact on young minds to try and inspire more children in the Sheffield City Region to consider engineering as a cool career.
“I became a STEM Ambassador, to help inspire young kids to do science and engineering because I think there is a huge need for more engineers.
“If we want to inspire people, we need to do it from school-age level.”
Cllr Downing said it was wonderful to see the children so enthused in getting to grips with engineering.
“We desperately need the engineers and skills to continue to excel to compete globally, which is why I’m delighted to launch the Primary Engineer scheme here at the AMRC Training Centre,” he said.
“As we can see with this magnificent facility, advanced manufacturing is a major success, particularly in aerospace and automotive.
“There really never has been a better time to get into engineering technology and there has never been more opportunities.
“We need to provide industry with the talent it requires and provide young people with the brilliant careers they need.”
Rotherham Borough Council’s deputy leader, Cllr Gordon Watson, said: “This scheme inspires children to get involved in science and technology at an early age.
“It gives pupils the opportunity to try something new, get creative and develop their engineering skills in the classroom.
“The Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre also provides teachers with suitable resources and expertise to guide engineers of the future.”
The programme will culminate in a celebration challenge event at the AMRC where teams from each school will bring along their project entries and compete against other schools from the region.
Engineers from the AMRC will also visit schools to talk about engineering and their work, explaining how engineers solve problems, and awards will be presented to the winners at an annual prize-giving event.
Staff and students from the AMRC will select and build a prototype of one or more of the shortlisted designs.