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Newton Abbot’s young engineers beat fire and floods on ‘sinking ship’

July 11, 2019 | News

Young engineers from Newton Abbot’s pioneering secondary school, South Devon University Technical College (UTC), tackled torrential flooding during a visit to HMS Raleigh in Torpoint.

Students spent a day at the South West’s largest Royal Navy training establishment, training in the state-of-the-art sinking ship simulator used to teach sailors how to deal with emergencies at sea. Inside the Damage Control Instructional Unit (DRIU), known as HMS Havoc, the students worked together in the cold, dark environment with varying degrees of damage to the hull and against the rising water to stem the flow and save their ship from sinking.

With water pouring into the unit from all angles, 15 of South Devon UTC’s young engineers had to use their skills to address a real-life situation that naval officers have to face. Inside, the layout mimics what you might see on the majority of Royal Navy ships, making the experience as realistic as possible. Students also had the opportunity to hone their firefighting skills and learn essential first aid.

The memorable day aimed to encourage young people to consider a career in one of a number of Engineering disciplines. This particular day was organised to help develop teamwork challenges for the students in a stressful situation and at the same time, view Royal Navy General Training.

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: “It was fantastic for our young engineers to experience the state-of-the-art simulators at HMS Raleigh. The DRIU is used regularly at HMS Raleigh to train recruits so it gave our students a taste of what life is like in the Royal Navy and what they can expect if they choose to join after they leave us. The challenge was certainly intense and I’m very proud that our engineers used their skills coupled with excellent teamwork to find solutions.”

Claire continued: “It’s important for us that our young engineers, scientists and mathematicians take part in challenges such as this regularly as it gives them the opportunity to put their skills into practice in what could be a real-life situation.”

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’. Unlike many other colleges, South Devon UTC has a higher proportion of their students studying triple science compared to the national average.

South Devon UTC is now recruiting students for the 2020/21 academic year, but a small number of places are still available for those interested in starting the college in September 2019. Currently, open mornings are hosted every Friday between 11:30am and 12:30pm. The first Open Event of the 2019/20 term will celebrate Science Week and will be held at the college on Tuesday 8th October 2019. Register your interest to attend by calling 01626 240201 or visit