One of the key features that helps build a successful Endeavour is having the children get advice from experts. At the start of the project I have the children write a persuasive letter to an expert in the field, usually someone who uses key skills relevant to the Endeavour in their job. In the letter they ask key questions that will help them in their project. I am always surprised by how often they receive helpful replies and how motivated they become as a result. Contacting people locally and further afield to ask for advice and help with the project shows the children that their projects are real and valid, and it is also very exciting when a letter arrives in the post! Letter writing and communicating successfully with others is also a useful skill for work.
In the first year of the project a local architect sent a series of letters to Scott explaining how the house design process works. Sometimes help is more direct; Jason was contacted and video-conferenced with a nuclear engineer on electronics, while Helen and Elinor had the local wildlife photographer visit to tell them how to take great photos for their wildlife related projects.
In 2014 Beth’s project on puppet making was helped when she used Twitter to converse with Steve Hewlett, the ventriloquist from Britain’s got Talent, about her project. Elizabeth received a letter from Manran encouraging her in her Gaelic singing project, while Cameron was in regular email contact with the Beechgrove Garden team about his croft. Often we receive gifts as well; Asher was sent survival books and Torin was very excited to receive video games through the post for his game design project. Local help came in the form of weekly visits from the local quilters association to help Danni with her Islay quilt, while local bakers posted baking equipment to Annie for her cake business.
2015 and Beth visited the RSPB for her bird anatomy project, while Emily and Jodie visited local wool makers. Eleanor worked with the local dietitian on delivering healthy eating advice to the school and Oliver received a letter from a physicist at St Andrews university advising him on his project on quantum mechanics. This year Eva received advice from the director of the Royal Shakepeare company on her project on Shakespearean monologues, and Kaitlyn received freshwater pearls from a jewellery designer in the post for her jewellery making topic.
People are invariably kind and generous with their time and help and we have been very lucky to be supported in this way by so many.