Young engineers from Newton Abbot’s pioneering secondary school, South Devon University Technical College (UTC), went head-to-head against schools from across the country as they participated in a unique challenge set by the Royal Navy.
Hosted at HMS Sultan near Portsmouth, the Royal Navy Engineering Challenge saw young engineers design a machine to destroy anything lurking beneath the sea which might threaten Britain’s newest aircraft carrier.
Up against more than 80 teams from schools and colleges across the country, South Devon UTC entered four teams made up of students from Year 10 to 13. The young engineers designed and built a remotely-controlled model vehicle that can clear hazards from the path of the aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales.
A key part of the Navy’s commitment to the Year of Engineering 2018, the competition took place directly after British Science Week and continued the theme of clearing the ocean of hazardous materials.
Students also had the opportunity to sample naval life aboard destroyer HMS Bristol in Portsmouth harbour and met local and national employers at the event.
Held in partnership with HMS Prince of Wales, BAE Systems and Babcock, the challenge aimed to encourage young people to consider a career in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM).
The Navy’s head of training, Commodore Andy Cree, said: “The challenge aims to encourage young people to continue their studies in STEM subjects by giving them a real-world problem to solve. The students taking part in the challenge who continue into STEM careers have a bright future with UK employers, including the Royal Navy, as future talented scientists, engineers and mathematicians comfortable with new technologies.”
Recently, South Devon UTC made its employer partner collaboration with the Royal Navy official by hosting a charter signing with Captain David Joyce. The Royal Navy now 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 Ian Crews commented: “It was exciting to watch our budding engineers take part in the Royal Navy Engineering Challenge. We encourage our students to regularly take part in challenges such as this because it enables them to really practice their skills and prepare them for the world of work. Challenges like these can be incredibly stimulating and allow our students to practice their skills outside of the workshop. Having recently signed a charter with the Royal Navy to make our employer partner collaboration official, we look forward to working with them going forward.”