Dozens of schoolchildren have been given a glimpse of the future at a Hartlepool engineering plant.
JDR Cables threw open its doors to around 200 Year 7 pupils from six schools across the town as part of a drive to highlight the vast range of career options in the industry.
Chief executive Richard Turner said the event had been part of an on-going campaign to encourage young people to study the core STEM - science, technology, engineering and mathematics - subjects they would need for the future.
“We had around 200 pupils in Hartlepool and we had an event at our facility in Littleport in Cambridgeshire earlier in the week, where we had 100 people, so it has been about 300 pupils altogether,” he said.
“It is a continuation of an initiative we launched last year, called Engineering a Brighter Future.
“When we look at our industry, oil, gas and renewable energy, the future is extremely bright - if you look at off-shore wind, the growth is exponential.
“There are huge opportunities to grow the business. That is going to require further expansion, further investment, but the most important cost is not more money, it is not more machines, it is actually people.
“This event is about keeping that pipeline of talented individuals flowing - we are training people today for the jobs of tomorrow.
“There are huge opportunities but we must keep ensuring the industry has access to the necessary skills and expertise.
“What we are trying to do is to encourage young people at the right age to make the right decisions about the subjects they are taking so they have that fundamental core to give them the option and opportunity to pursue a career in engineering.”
The response from the students had been fantastic, he said.
“It is an action-packed day - we don’t just take them on a tour of the plant.
“There is music, there is dancing, there are interactive displays, and we have been supported by some of our local and national suppliers, so there is a huge amount going on.
“What we are trying to do is get them to understand what engineering is and what engineering does.
“A lot of young people don’t understand where the energy they use comes from - you just plug in your iPad, you plug in your Xbox and it is just there.”
The coming decades were set to be particularly exciting and challenging for the next wave of young engineers, said Mr Turner, with the growing importance of alternative energy sources as fossil fuels begin to run out.
“This generation is the renewable generation,”he added.