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Smallpeice Trust Courses Encourage Young Engineers

Monday, 08 September 2014

In July, five pupils from the Boys’ Division took part in a variety of Smallpeice Trust courses. These residential programmes were designed to promote engineering as a career path, and took place at universities across the UK.

The Smallpeice Trust is an independent charitable trust which promotes engineering as a career by running these residential courses for young people ages twelve to eighteen. The courses are designed to help them learn and develop skills in engineering, design, technology and manufacturing.

Each of the boys to gained further insight into an area of science and technology in which he has a particular interest.

Eichi Makino, who is now in Year 10, enjoyed a unique hands-on experience at Coventry University, which was sponsored by the 29th May 1961 Charitable Trust. He was one of ninety-five students chosen to take part in a series of presentations and workshops about automotive engineering. Over the three-day programme, he and his team completed ‘real-life’ design and make challenges, which were facilitated by young role model engineers from three leading automotive companies: Aston Martin, BMW, and Jaguar Land Rover.

The programme included designing an ‘off-road vehicle challenge’ based on the Land Rover 4x4, a concept for a new generation Aston Martin DB9, and an all-new electric car for BMW. Once the cars had been designed and built, the 4x4s were subjected to a number of tests as they negotiated a track with inclines, slide slopes and a river crossing; while the Aston Martin and BMW projects competed in a high-speed drag race.

Current Year 12 student Daniel Wilde attended an Advanced Marine Technology course at Newcastle University. The programme was designed through a partnership between the Smallpeice Trust and the university’s School of Marine Science and Technology, and was financially supported by Lloyd’s Register Foundation (LRF). Students were given opportunities to explore the technical challenged faced by marine technologists when working in extreme ocean environments, where waves, wind and currents combine to produce some of the harshest conditions on Earth.

Working in teams, they designed and built a floating platform which could support a subsea vehicle whilst operating in waves. As part of the experience, students were able to use state-of-the-art marine technology laboratories to measure the effect of extreme weather conditions on marine devices.

Three boys who are now in Year 11 learned how to solve some of the key challenges facing the nuclear industry in their Smallpeice Trust courses. This involved a design and make project which challenged the pupils to move spent nuclear fuel from a storage facility; it involved students pitching their ideas in a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style scenario in order to gain funding, allowing them to go out and make their design. The course involved a series of workshops, presentations, a practical design and make project, and a final assessment, which involved wearing full protective clothing; they also had to demonstrate their finished product, complete with design drawings, method statements and risk assessments.

Hal Cowling spent his four-day residential at Lancaster University, where the course was sponsored by the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL). Adam Shine and Elijah Egun visited the University of Manchester for the course, which was sponsored by the university’s Dalton Nuclear Institute in collaboration with the NNL.

A variety of topical subjects were covered, including radiation, the environment, health and safety, and decommissioning of waste. They also enjoyed additional masterclasses covering nuclear waste, alternative fission systems and Fukushima.

This was the second Smallpeice Trust course for Adam Shine: at the end of March he attended a Physics in Engineering course at the University of Warwick, sponsored by the university’s Physics Department and the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851. Over the three days, fifty students ages 14 and 15 had the opportunity to learn about the subject through a series of presentations and practical exercises. Led by academic staff and PhD students, they took part in masterclasses and workshops in teams, exploring electronics, microscopy, particle physics, and ultrasounds. They also took part in a Physics Marketplace where they enjoyed a range of activities and demonstrations. The course included a motivational lecture by guest speaker Roger Hoyle from Bloodhound SSC, which aimed to inspire the students to consider a future role tacking 21st century engineering challenges.

Clair Fisher, spokesperson for The Smallpeice Trust, said, “We always aim to deliver exciting and innovative courses and it’s very important that we provide a practical element and in insight into industry too. Our continuing partnerships have enabled us to enthuse the engineers of tomorrow while highlighting the diverse career opportunities available. The courses give students a taste of university life and a genuine insight into the real-life challenges faced by engineers.”

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