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Young engineers triumph in national engineering challenge final 2017

17 July 2017


Six young engineers have shown off their STEM skills and won the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s (IET) national Faraday engineering challenge. 

Students from Hammersmith Academy in London secured £1,000 for their school after beating four other school teams from across the UKon Wednesday 12 July at the Land Rover BAR base in Portsmouth.

Land Rover BAR is the British America’s Cup team led by 4-times Olympic gold medalist, Sir Ben Ainslie. The IET partnered with the team’s official charity, the 1851 Trust, which promotes STEM education for young people for this season’s challenge. Teams were asked to develop two prototypes using a BBC micro:bit computer, to improve the performance of the Land Rover BAR sailing team.

The team from Hammersmith Academy, whose challenge day was sponsored by the Jack Petchey Foundation, presented the ‘Sky Sail’ which is a device that measures the angle of the wind using the compass on the micro:bit and trims the sail automatically to that angle. The team was made up of 4 girls and 2 boys.

Trudy Kilcullen MBE, CEO of the Jack Petchey Foundation said: “We want to help young people develop their interest in STEM subjects in a creative and fun way, that’s why we have supported the IET Faraday Challenge programme.

The element of competition sparks the imagination of young people. Our work shows us that given the opportunity, they can come up with ingenious technical solutions to our 21st Century problems! ”

David Lakin, IET Head of Education, said: “This year’s IET Faraday season has been one of the largest ever with over 4,500 students taking part across the UK. The quality of the student’s work throughout has been fantastic and it was an extremely close final – I’d like to congratulate SCHOOL on their win!

“Students who have taken part in the Faraday Challenge Days this year have experienced working as an engineer through hands-on and practical engagement with real-life challenges in the hope that this will give them an insight into the life of a real engineer, the variety a career in engineering can offer and the central role it plays in our everyday lives. It’s also been fantastic working with the Land Rover BAR team, and the 1851 Trust on this.”

Team member from Hammersmith Academy said: “This helped me open my eyes on the world more and helped me see things differently.”

Teacher, Ms Lauren Ferrell from Hammersmith Academy said: “The kids have never had such a big opportunity and their confidence has grown phenomenally over the past few weeks. They loved every single moment and have developed a strong bond. I will most definitely be in touch for future interactions with the IET.”  

Teacher, Mr Rico Robinson-Young from Hammersmith Academy added: “We are elated for our students, this experience means so much to them (even more than they can possible comprehend at their young age). Two had to present again to an audience of parents upon arrival [back at school], this was one of the proudest moments I have felt in my teaching career.”

One-hundred and forty school and sponsored events took place across the UK to host the 2016-17 IET Faraday Challenge Days. Up to six teams of local school students competed at each event to find the best solution to an engineering-related challenge. A total of 4,710 students took part across the UK.

The events aim to encourage more young people to study and consider exciting and rewarding careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) by using creativity, innovation and problem-solving skills.

Notes to editors:

The Faraday Challenge Days are part of a wider Faraday education programme, made up of a whole host of teaching resources and activities to inspire and attract the engineers of tomorrow. To find out more information, please visit the IET Faraday website.