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Newton Abbot’s young engineers awarded top national accolade after demonstrating sought-after skills in Royal Navy challenge

September 30, 2020 | News

Young engineers from Newton Abbot’s pioneering technical college have been awarded a nationally recognised accolade, proving that a pandemic has not stalled their career development.

Six Year 13 students from South Devon University Technical College (UTC) have been awarded the Gold Level Industrial Cadets Accreditation from the Engineering Development Trust (EDT) upon completing their Engineering Education Scheme (EES) project.

Fin Lake (17), Tyler Edmond (18), Marshall Tozer (17), Chris West (17), Tom Guscott (17) and Sammy Beumont (17) are the first South Devon UTC students to achieve the Gold Level certificate after working on their project for 10 months. The programme linked the team and their teacher, Lead for Technology and Engineering Will Bent, with local companies where they worked on a real-life, scientific, engineering and technology project. The scheme provides students with an in-depth experience in STEM that will enable them to make an informed decision about their future studies and career.

The team had to learn how to manage their time to complete a real-world challenge, the modernisation of the Royal Navy’s peg board. Two mentors from the Royal Navy based in Plymouth worked alongside the young engineers as they worked on a solution that would streamline the clocking in process used on all of the Royal Navy’s 73 vessels worldwide. Over the last 10 months, the team utilised radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to develop and code a system that would inform a database of when personnel were on board the vessel or elsewhere.

After the initial research phase, the team had the opportunity to visit the University of Plymouth to use its workshops and equipment to manufacture the product they had designed.

With 203,000 skilled entrants needed annually to meet the demand for engineering enterprises through to 2024 (source: Engineering UK Report 2018), challenges like this enable South Devon UTC to encourage its students to develop their valued skills in a real-life working environment.

Principal Claire Plumb commented:

“I’m so proud of our young engineers for achieving the prestigious Gold Level Industrial Cadets Accreditation. A team of South Devon UTC students won the silver award previously so it’s fantastic that we can add the gold to our growing list of accolades. Challenges such as the EES project give our students a taste of what life is like as a working engineer, preparing them for what to expect when they leave us. The challenge was certainly hard work, particularly when they had to navigate their way through the Coronavirus pandemic, so I’m very proud that our engineers used their skills coupled with excellent teamwork to find a solution and persevere with the project.”

The pioneering college on Kingsteignton Road offers an innovative model of learning for students that provides professional academic and technical education aimed to ‘develop a new generation of engineers, scientists and environmentalists’. Students work towards GCSEs and A-levels as well as technical qualifications in engineering and science. The college provides an environment that mirrors the workplace, helping students develop important employability skills to prepare them for a job, apprenticeship or degree when they leave school.

South Devon UTC partners with local businesses and can therefore offer its students hands-on experience of the work environment and also the type of employment that might follow on from their studies.

South Devon UTC is now recruiting students for the 2021/22 academic year. Register your interest to attend by calling 01626 240201 or visit