Badge support | Mechanic Activity Badges
Perfect for problem-solvers and trailblazers, these Mechanic Activity Badges introduce young people to the wonderful world of engineering, equipping them with practical vehicle maintenance skills, and developing their ability to think logically and critically along the way.
Scouts – Mechanic Activity Badge
To complete their Mechanic Activity Badge, Scouts learn how to maintain a vehicle of their choice. Focussing on motorcars, powerboats, aircraft or motorcycles/scooters, they develop essential practical skills, learning how to remove and replace a wheel, how to check tyre pressure, and how to safely store fuel, for example. They also discover what an MOT is, why it is important, and how it is carried out. To help Scouts visualise each step, you could direct them to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, who have produced handy visual MOT checklists for both cars and motorcycles.
By opening up discussions about professions in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM), working towards this badge provides the perfect opportunity to not only discuss future career routes with your young people, but also to review the expertise in your wider group or District. To fuel your Scout’s imaginations and ambitions, why not invite an expert to come and talk to the Group about what their job entails and how they got there? Are there any local volunteers who work as mechanics or engineers? How about parents or carers with young people in the section? It’s worth doing a call-out for advice from your local community. You could also search for video demonstrations on YouTube, or see if you could arrange a visit to a local garage, harbour or flying school.
Two of the badge requirements for the motorcar route of the badge can be completed using this fun and informative activity from the Army:
You can also have a go at this fun quiz, testing your young people’s knowledge while also giving them some insight into what the life of a professional engineer looks like:
If you’d like to organise a trip linked to the theme of Science and Technology careers, the REME museum in Chippenham has many immersive exhibits on display, which should bring the badge content to life. Inside the museum, Scouts can explore extensive collections of the Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, including historic repair and recovery vehicles, uniforms, medals, tools and test equipment. From repairing Challenger tanks to maintaining the Apache Attack Helicopter, REME staff keep up to date with the latest in advanced technologies and complex equipment, making daily decisions that can lead to the success of a mission. The REME Museum is proud to offer group rates and special workshops to The Scout Association. The Museum can deliver activities to suit a variety of desired outcomes. To find out more about the workshops, visit their website here. To book your slot, please contact the museum on 01249 89 4869 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Explorers – Science and Technology Activity Badge (Mechanic option)
To complete the Mechanic option of the Science and Technology Activity Badge, Explorer Scouts regularly maintain a mechanical machine over a period of time. Throughout, they learn a variety of different techniques, demonstrate their mechanical knowledge and talk about how to put their new skills to use, responsibly and safely.
After completing the badge, Explorer Scouts may find that they’ve uncovered a real interest in mechanics or engineering. To help them explore their potential career or hobby options in the field of Science, Technology, Engineering or Maths, you could invite a local expert to your meeting place to give a talk on what they do and why they do it, or direct them to some relevant career advice websites. Here are some useful examples:
The Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical engineers provide advice on how to get into military engineering. From repairing Challenger tanks to maintaining the Apache Attack Helicopter, their staff keep up to date with the latest in advanced technologies and complex equipment, making engineering daily decisions that can lead to the success of a mission.
Tomorrow’s Engineers provide advice and inspiration for the next generation of engineers. Their ‘real jobs’ section of the website is particularly useful, demonstrating how engineering can transform real people’s lives, and break new ground in the process. Some interesting case studies include how engineering is being used to help cities recover from natural disasters, to forge better transport links and even to make chewing gum safe to chew.
The National Careers service has a full list of potential career paths in manufacturing and engineering, including an outline of all the steps a young person might take on their journey to becoming a qualified boat builder, motor mechanic or motorsports engineer. There are some less obvious routes on the list, too, ranging from TV and film sound technicians, to food scientists, to naval architects.
As women are underrepresented in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths, completing the Science and Technology Activity Badge can be particularly empowering for girls in the section who are interested in engineering. As a next step, you could encourage girls in the section to take on some advice or work experience with an organisation aiming to make engineering more inclusive, such as Women in Stem, Stemettes, or Girl Geeks. You could also encourage them to share their knowledge with others in the lower sections, setting an example others might like to follow and helping to diminish stereotypes.
Combining the Sections
If you need an extra boost of inspiration, check out this video from 2nd Urmston, whose track car project gave Scouts the opportunity to earn their Mechanics Activity Badge at the same time as Explorers pursuing their Motorsports badge:
Using your engineering skills to contribute to the top awards in Scouting
Explorer Scouts and Network members working towards their top awards, such as their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, Chief Scout’s Platinum Award, Chief Scout’s Diamond Award, or Queen’s Scout Award, can choose a specialist skill to focus on and develop as part of their journey. If they’ve enjoyed these badges, or have a keen interest in making things and solving problems, members may wish to consider mechanics as their chosen skill.