Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Bassetlaw 14-19 Engineering Diploma Consortium Reach for the Sky

Aeroplane taking off

The Bassetlaw 14–19 Consortium has developed an exciting project to support the delivery of the Engineering Diploma in the North Nottinghamshire area, called ‘Reach for the Sky’. This collaborative project aims to give the learners an exciting and engaging experience of the engineered world. The delivery includes the chance to examine aerospace technology up close through the resources and expertise on offer at North Nott’s College and Gamston Airport.

Alongside this real world exposure, the consortium was keen to develop an interactive e-learning resource that would compliment the real-world information, in order to meet all of the requirements of the Engineering Diploma.

The ‘Reach for the Sky’ project utilises LJ Create’s ‘ClassCampus’ online learning resource that was deployed with the Engineering Diploma in mind. It enables students to access contextualised learning resources reducing the need to travel between schools, college and workplace providers.

One example of these online resources is the Hydraulics material. Students are introduced to topics and demonstrations in the lead centre and then access virtual simulation tasks via the online system that relate directly to their experiences in the classroom.

Since starting delivery in September 2009, the consortium has accumulated over 500 hours of tracked online study on their Engineering Diploma and Motor Vehicle courses.

Gareth Nadin of the Tuxford School had this to say.

"LJ Create’s Engineering Resource has been one of the most significant technological advances for us in years.

The ClassCampus system is used specifically by the Diploma students across the consortium. We use the chat and email facilities to ensure that the students have access to a “duty tutor” on nominated evenings during the week.

We have been using the vehicle technology modules to deliver the BTEC First Certificate and the impact on lower ability students is outstanding. Each student is able to progress at their own pace and through the live classroom facilities the student is able to request assistance discreetly."

This project attracted funding from the East Midlands Development Agency as part of their “Catapulting Kids” initiative.

For information visit the East Midlands New Technology Initiative website

or read the BECTA Guide to the Use of eLearning for Diploma Delivery.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

BBC Visit LJ Create - 30 Years On.

LJ Create, the educational resources development and manufacturing company, will be appearing in the BBC local East Anglia TV news throughout today (24th September).

A BBC Look East programme from 1979 was uncovered that featured Larry Rowe, the managing director of LJ Create Ltd, winning a competition for one year’s free use of a new factory in Bowthorpe, Norwich. The competition for local people who had good ideas for new companies and needed a helping hand it turning the idea into a business. Perhaps this was even an early go at a formula that has produced the incredibly popular Apprentice TV series.

Larry had been making electronic circuit boards for use in education for himself colleagues at City College, Norwich where he lectured. Through a network of friends, college tutors, other colleges heard about his work and commissioned boards as well. Before he knew it, Larry had a small production line running from his home and even paid his teenage son, Chris, pocket money to help solder circuit boards. Each board was branded LJ Electronics, with the LJ coming from Larry’s initials, L. J. Rowe.

It was Larry's son who suggested that Larry enter the competition to win the use of factory and make the giant leap from a cottage industry into a fully commercial operation. Larry eventually agreed to send the entry form in.

On the 6th June 1979, Larry was delighted to be presented with the key to his factory as the first prize in the competition, in front of a large gathering of local press and TV cameras. The judges were very impressed with Larry’s hard work to date, the innovational electronics teaching products he had designed, and the gap in the market he described.

Although Larry found out that one of the judges, TV’s business trouble-shooter John Swinfield, said that it was unlikely that an "ordinary man of the street" with no knowledge of running a business would be able to keep this sort of business running more than a year!

LJ Electronics Ltd was born. Larry was given a year’s sabbatical from the College and Chris took a gap year from the University at Aston to help Larry. They started to recruit help straight away as they knew that they would need a workforce to produce enough products to support the cost of running the factory when the free year ran out. 30 years on, Larry never returned to the college and Chris didn’t take up his place in Aston University.

In 2009, with a new name to represent a far more diverse product range LJ Create is going strong. LJ Create is now a multinational business with £14 million turn over. Students all over the world are using educational equipment, curriculum resources and high quality computer software from LJ to learn about science, IT, engineering, media design, automotive skills and of course, electronics.

BBC Look East came back to LJ to talk to Larry about his success and see how the company has grown. The head office is in the same industrial estate in Bowthorpe, Norwich where it was founded, but now the company occupies several larger units and has additional offices overseas.

Larry, who is still very much at the helm is proud of his company and told the BBC that he owes his success to a very talented workforce and luck. But we all know that the success of the company is due to Larry's 30 years of hard work.

The footage of the BBC program can be found in YouTube


Monday, 22 June 2009

LJ Create proudly announce their new Diploma Electronics Programme

This exciting new Electronics package has been created specifically to address the electronics requirements within the new Engineering Diploma at Levels 1 and 2.

It features a series of lessons designed to introduce components and circuits for real world electronic applications. The module focuses on practical skills with students constructing circuits using the various prototyping methods of breadboard, strip board and PCB. The student activities allow them to investigate circuit operation on our unique patching board/carrier mounted components and perform circuit simulation on a computer. The patching board also includes a system of fault insertion which is an essential requirement at Level 2 of the Diploma.

The module offers the added benefit of project tasks that meet the examination board unit assessment requirements. A marking scheme is clearly identified within these projects assisting the teacher with the assessment and providing an overall mark for the unit.

Due to be released in September, many Diploma Consortia members have already purchased the module for use in the new school year.

LJ Create are happy to provide demonstrations of the new programme, please contact Kerry Woods on 01603 748001 for more details. Or visit