Full steam ahead for young engineers in preparation for challenge

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(Last Updated On: March 6, 2020)

Young engineers from Newton Abbot’s pioneering secondary school, South Devon University Technical College (UTC), have started work on their entry for this year’s Royal Navy Engineering Challenge.

Hosted at HMS Sultan near Portsmouth on Tuesday 17th and Wednesday 18th March 2020, the challenge will see young engineers from across the country develop a prototype of a displacement boat. Replicating real life challenges that the Royal Navy have to face daily; the boat will simulate the transportation of cargo from ship to shore, teaching the young engineers how to deliver aid in a crisis.

South Devon UTC’s Nathan Evans, Toby Conian, Molly Duffy, Millie Duffy and Harry Tully will be competing against 50 teams from other UTC’s across the country. This will be the fourth time that the science and engineering specialist school has competed and for Toby and Millie, this is their third experience of the dynamic event.

Toby, a Year 12 engineer, commented: “I am a bit apprehensive about the event but looking forward to it at the same time. It will be a pressured environment. We have had privileged access to the engineering workshop at South Devon UTC to develop our vessel. I have enjoyed working in a team and I’m excited about the competition.”

Will Bent, Lead for Engineering at South Devon UTC, and Chelsea Sleep, Teacher of Engineering and SENDCo at South Devon UTC, will be accompanying the team to HMS Sultan. They have high hopes for the team this year as lessons learnt from previous years have been put into action.

Will commented: “The standard of entry is quite remarkable. The quality of design and manufacture from ours and other UTCs is usually very high and we have learnt that forward planning, excellent communication and leadership qualities are essential features of the winning team.”

Chelsea Sleep has observed a strong sense of unity in the team entering this year. She commented: “The students are driven by their determination to produce something exceptional. Not only is their work going to function and fulfil its purpose, they have worked to ensure that it is eye-catching and innovative in design. We wish the team well on the 17th and 18th and hope they will return with yet another trophy!”

The challenge aims to encourage young people to consider a career in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM). Whilst visiting HMS Sultan, the students will also have the opportunity to sample naval life aboard destroyer HMS Bristol in Portsmouth harbour and will meet local and national employers at the event.

As an official South Devon UTC employer partner, the Royal Navy helps shape the curriculum at the Newton Abbot school, providing Challenge projects and offering work experience to ensure South Devon UTC students are ready for work when they finish Year 13.

Principal Claire Plumb commented: “Students at our college are encouraged to participate in projects such as these. These scenarios are actually happening in the wider world and with the expert input of the Royal Navy, our students can feel a sense of value and purpose in their learning, helping them to step up their energy and input to produce these excellent designs. Our students are flourishing in every way. They are becoming excellent Engineers, outstanding collaborators, leaders and team-players and they are highly likely to become very much in demand by employers in the STEM industry.”

South Devon UTC is now recruiting students for the 2020/21 academic year. Young people with a flair for science and engineering due to start Year 10 or Year 12 in September 2020 are invited to the next open evening, which marks World Environment Day, on the 5th June 2020. Call 01626 240201 or visit http://southdevonutc.org/ to register your interest. Alternatively, the college hosts open mornings every Friday between 11:30am and 12:30pm. Please contact the college for more information.

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