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Young engineers from Glasgow school triumph in national IET Faraday Challenge Day final

Students from Lenzie Academy in Kirkintilloch, Glasgow, have won the IET’s national Faraday engineering challenge, securing £1,000 for their school.

The top five school teams from the season league table attended the IET Faraday Challenge Day National Final on Wednesday 10 July at the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh. Other teams were the Bolsover School from Derbyshire, Castle Court School from Dorset, St Benedict’s Catholic College from Essex and Holy Family Catholic High School from North Yorkshire.

This year’s challenge was in association with the James Webb Space Telescope and tasked teams to design a prototype that will assist with moving the telescope safely, once it is assembled to its launch site in French Guiana.

The winning team from Glasgow designed a prototype vehicle which swept obstacles out of the way of the telescope. It had a sweeping blade and a pressure sensor to alert the driver if the obstacle was too heavy.

On winning, the team said: “We really enjoyed the challenge and feel that we’ve learnt so many skills which will serve us throughout life. We would like to thank everyone that made the opportunity happen, especially Mrs Campbell and our Challenge Leader, Mick!”

The final was judged by Sophie Harker, IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year, Michelle Richmond, IET Director of Membership and Professional Development, Pierre Ferruit, ESA Project Scientist and Carolyn Atkins, Research Scientist at UK Astronomy Technology Centre.

A total of 189 events took place across the UK to host the 2018-19 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. 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.

Natalie Clerke, IET Faraday Education Manager, said: “Students who took part in the Faraday Challenge Days this year have experienced working as an engineer through hands-on and practical engagement with real-life challenges relating to the James Webb Space Telescope. The quality of the students’ work throughout has been fantastic and it was an extremely close final – I’d like to congratulate Lenzie Academy on winning!

“There is a huge demand for new engineers and technicians and we’re confident that this challenge has helped to change young people’s perceptions of engineers and inspire the next generation. It’s given students an insight into the life of a real engineer, the variety a career in engineering can offer and just how exciting and creative engineering really is.”

For more information on the IET and its initiatives to promote STEM subjects and careers in the classroom, visit the IET’s dedicated websites for Secondary and Primary schools.