MPs and apprentices gather to launch Youth Rocketry Challenge

Posted on 7 Nov 2013 by Tim Brown

More than 25 MPs yesterday teamed up with aerospace apprentices from all over the UK to take part in a rocket launching competition to celebrate the launch of the 2014 UK Aerospace Youth Rocketry Challenge which sees teams of students aged 11-18 years old design, build and launch their own rockets to exacting specifications.

The competition, which took place in Victoria Tower Gardens, Westminster, coincides with Tomorrow’s Engineers Week – a Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) initiative to showcase the many exciting engineering careers options available to young people.

Earlier this week Professor John Perkins, the chief scientific advisor to BIS released the Review of Engineering Skills. The Review highlights the importance of encouraging a pipeline of engineers for the benefit of the UK economy, and recommends that government, industry, the engineering profession and the education sector must work together to inspire young people into engineering. The UKAYRoC is an important initiative to achieve this, and has become increasingly influential in enthusing young people about the variety of opportunities on offer in the aerospace sector. Next year’s challenge is set to be bigger than ever before, with places for 150 teams to take part.

Speaking at the event, Paul Everitt, chief executive of aerospace trade organisation, ADS Group commented: “The Rocketry Challenge is a unique initiative to ignite enthusiasm for our sectors. We believe the challenge has an important role to play in galvanising more young people to take up careers in the aerospace sector, ultimately helping the UK take advantage of the significant growth opportunities available as air travel continues to increase.

“Today’s event demonstrates the importance that MPs and our industry places on this initiative, and on securing the skills we need for the future. There has been a fantastic turn-out for today’s launch event and we look forward to involving many more schools than ever before in the 2014 Challenge.”

The competition saw MPs assemble and launch air powered rockets with the assistance of the apprentices in their team. The aim was to achieve the greatest horizontal distance, with Chloe Smith, Roger Gale and Stephen Mosley MPs being placed first, second and third respectively.

Apprentices from Airbus, Astrium, Axis Electronics, Cobham, GE Aviation, GKN, Marshall Aerospace and Defence, MEP, Raytheon UK, RLC Engineering, Selex ES and UTC Aerospace Systems were on hand on the day to support their MP team leader in the successful launch of the rocket.