Students were challenged to make a tower from spaghetti as they launched a scheme to raise awareness of jobs in industry.
Twenty-four pupils from the Co-operative Academy, along with Haywood Academy, will gain career insights on the Industrial Cadets project – which is backed by Prince Charles, who visited the Academy last year to meet some of those involved in the project.
They helped to launch the second year of the programme yesterday at sheet metal manufacturer KMF's Newcastle training centre.
KMF's training manager Jenny Conlon said: "The scheme will give students an opportunity to find out more about what different companies in Stoke-on-Trent have to offer them. They will go to a session once a week on a Wednesday for eight weeks.
"At KMF we will be producing a tealight holder which will give them an insight into design and production."
She said the tower competition was a great way for the pupils from the Tunstall and Burslem schools to break the ice as they met for the first time.
Industrial Cadets began in 2011 with a pilot project in Teeside after Prince Charles challenged manufacturers to do more to engage with young people.
This year North Staffordshire companies Novus, Michelin, Dudson, KMF and Keele University are all taking part in the scheme.
Kevin Rhone corporate social responsibility manager for Novus, said: "We work a lot with paint so they will be taking part in a project which will allow them to be creative while working out how to budget for materials.
"Last year's intake worked really well and we were really happy to take part again this year."
Steelite is running a separate initiative, which will see cadets spending the whole of the programme at the Middleport manufacturer. The first project in 2013, called Art On A Plate, saw cadets producing a piece of artwork fitting for the outside wall of its human resources building.
This year Steelite International will base its project around the theme of 'Back To The Future'. It's a similar project with the objective of designing artwork fit for the factory's distribution warehouse wall, adjacent to the canal.
Group HR director Wendy Dean said: "Being involved with the programme will give us the opportunity to work with the youngsters who will essentially shape the future of our business and hopefully spark within them the desire to engage within the world of manufacturing for what is essentially, a world-leading, local manufacturer."
Co-operative Academy principal Andy Stanier said: "This is a really key time for our year 9 students who are about to take their GCSEs. The programme enables them to find out more about what's out there in terms of career paths.
Carl Ward, head of the Haywood Academy, added: "Last year's project was fabulous.
"The cadets really enjoyed themselves and the work they were doing and we've got high hopes that this year will be just as rewarding for the students."