Navy engineer spent a day at engineering challenge

Kieran Lewis helped teams at Cowplain Community College compete in the Faraday Challenge
Kieran Lewis helped teams at Cowplain Community College compete in the Faraday Challenge

Portsmouth MP visits his former childhood stomping ground

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A ROYAL Navy officer at HMS Collingwood spent the day at Cowplain Community College to support an engineering challenge event.

Lieutenant Kieran Lewis, an engineering principles instructor is a Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths ambassador and was asked to help at the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) Faraday Challenge at the college.

Cowplain is close to where he lives, so he jumped at the opportunity to inspire young students in engineering.

The IET Faraday Challenge is a national competition in which year 7 students have to use the BBC micro:bit to come up with two prototypes to improve the quality of life in one of four areas – sport, health, transport and lifestyle. 

The micro:bit is a pocket-sized codeable computer with motion detection, a built-in compass and Bluetooth technology.

As a STEM ambassador, Kieran was brought in as an engineering consultant to help the teams develope a viable end- product. 

This event allows students to be creative and use their problem-solving skills within a loose set of parameters while gaining experience of project management.

Kieran said: ‘As a STEM ambassador for this event I was able to show the skills expected of an engineer by utilising coaching methods to help the kids work around their project showing the fundamental problem-solving skills all engineers require.

‘I was also able to draw on experience from my computing AS level and assist in the methodology used to code an electronic system.

‘This allowed me to stand out from the other ambassadors who had little to no experience of programming.

‘It made for a busy day as most teams wanted my assistance at some point during the challenge.’  

As a Royal Navy engineer Kieran represented HMS Collingwood and the service.

He added: ‘The day was a great experience and is was good to work with the BBC Micro:Bit which will be distributed to all year 7 students at Easter.’