PPE HEROES – The Design and Technology Association

Recognising those who have gone above and beyond during the coronavirus pandemic

When the Coronavirus pandemic was at it’s peak and the lack of PPE for frontline workers was critical, some unlikely heroes stepped up to use their skills and expertise to  help. Hundreds of Design and Technology teachers went back to their schools to assist in the production of PPE for frontline clinical workers. Equipped with the tools and machinery in the school workshops including 3D printers and laser cutters and through partnerships with industry injection moulding machines, this army of teachers began to produce high-quality PPE. The D&T teachers were able to call on their problem-solving and creative know-how to quickly design and develop quality personal protective equipment.

Between them all the Design and Technology teachers produced over 420,000 visors, goggles, ear relievers, scrubs, scrub bags, masks, headbands and scrub hats – all this while still teaching online learning to their students.

Special masks were designed to be child-friendly for those caring for children in hospitals.

The schools also linked up with a social enterprise 3D Crowd – a company set up in response to the urgent call for PPE – coordinated by teachers in most major cities, to collaborate in the design, production and urgent distribution of PPE. It crowdfunded over £150,000 and produced and shipped over 200,000 items of PPE equipment to NHS and care workers nationally.

The Design and Technology Association helped to coordinate the nationwide efforts of those involved and support those making the PPE. 

Tony Ryan, CEO of the Design and Technology Association, commented:

“I’m in awe of the work that has taken place across our community over the last month. Our subject is all about designing solutions for human problems, and what bigger challenge has society faced in recent years? This entire process exemplifies just how important our subject is in a modern curriculum. Material knowledge, iterative design, problem-solving, resilience and innovation are at the very heart of what we teach; teachers now have first-hand case-studies demonstrating the importance of Design and Technology is the world today. We have seen innovation and a sense of the difference that a community working to a common purpose can make. I think I speak for all Design and Technology teachers in stating that we are all pleased to be making a small difference in the best way we know how.”

This story is a fantastic example of how important design and technology is and how the teaching of it is essential in ensuring we have future generations of innovators and creators. It is becoming more apparent that as a nation we need to work harder to design and make more products in the UK, utilising the materials and expertise we have and this all starts with teaching and learning.

Thank you to all of those involved in not only producing PPE when it was so desperately needed but also for your continued hard work in teaching and inspiring the next generation of innovators and problem solvers. You are true PPE Heroes!

Find out more about the Design and Technology Association – www.data.org.uk

Rebecca Lambert
Author: Rebecca Lambert


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