100 A-level students displayed their manufacturing skills at the Engineering Education Scheme Celebration Day, held at the University of Bristol.
Thales UK was at the heart of the event, with staff from its Wells and Bristol sites providing expertise and assistance in the form of project mentoring and final assessment to help the budding engineers.
The EES event was run by the Engineering Development Trust (EDT), an education charity that helps talented young people to achieve their full potential, particularly in engineering, science and technology careers. For the past six months EES students from across the south-west have been working on real engineering challenges set by local industry. The 28 teams of 16-17 year olds have been working closely with companies and organisations such as Thales and the Royal Navy.
One of the teams, from the Blue School in Wells, Somerset, was sponsored and mentored by the Thales site at Wells. Two Thales engineers, Jennifer Griffiths and Stuart Gardiner, helped the four-strong school team to prepare for the event. Their task was to research and develop a solution for a remote improvised explosive device (IED) detection vehicle.
The teams then presented their ideas to panels of experts on the day, among them Dr Mark Mitchelmore from Thales’s site at Bristol. Mark works on the Queen Elizabeth-class programme, the UK’s new aircraft carriers that are being built by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, of which Thales UK is a founder member.
Working in a team of four experts Mark helped assess the work of four school teams: the Blue School (Wells), St Peter’s RC High School (Gloucester), Tewkesbury School (Tewkesbury) and Wellsway School (Bristol). The assessment included written reports and team presentations.
Charity Watkins, EDT Regional Director, said: “The Engineering Education Scheme is an amazing way to develop staff and teachers, but the real stars are the students who come up with innovative solutions to problems. They gain communication skills, both written and verbal, manage a project and cope with the demands of their studies. Many of these students will decide to study engineering as a direct result of this scheme, great for the future of UK plc.”