HMS Sultan helps to inspire the next generation of engineers
HMS SULTAN has been helping to inspire the next generation of engineers at their annual Royal Navy Engineering Challenge Day.
Seventy teams from over 20 schools, colleges and apprenticeship providers across the country took on the Exercise Downbird Recovery – to produce an amphibious vehicle to collect a grounded helicopter and return it to safety.
The city was well represented with teams from Fareham College’s Centre of Excellence in Engineering, Manufacturing and Advanced Skills Training (CEMAST), University Technical College Portsmouth (UTC) and Royal Navy apprentice teams from HMS Sultan and Collingwood.
UTC Year 10 pupil, Jack Eminton, 15, said: ‘I have really enjoyed the day and am proud of our vehicle which managed to complete the task. We were given a budget and list of parts which we purchased from a model shop in Fratton.’
Benjamin Oldfield, an apprentice at CEMAST, added: ‘It’s really useful to put those skills that we learnt in class into practice in a practical environment. As a mechanical engineer it has been good to develop my knowledge of electrical engineering.’
Now in its fifth year, the event is designed to promote fun learning in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and help address the shortfall of UK engineers.
Former education secretary, Lord Kenneth Baker, a passionate advocate of STEM learning and founder of UTC’s, was in attendance at the event.
Lord Baker said: ‘I’m delighted to see so many students from UTC’s taking part. Through this competition the Royal Navy offer a unique opportunity to apply the technical knowledge and skills they learn every day at their UTC. The work the Royal Navy does to inspire young engineers has never been more important as this country’s need for engineering talent has never been greater.’
Lieutenant Commander Andy Parkins, event coordinator and UTC project lead, added: ‘I have been delighted with how the day has gone. Being a land and water based activity, this was the hardest challenge we have set and the young people have really risen to it with some fantastic innovative designs. Today also allows young people to get exposure to potential employers and to help to bridge the engineering gap we have in this country.’
Lord Baker and Commander Parkins were also both keen to stress the importance of increasing the number of females in engineering.
UTC Portsmouth student, Mollie Smyth, 17, said: ‘I have really enjoyed today. I think it is important to have girls in engineering as we can bring in different skill sets. It is certainly something we need to work on as there are only two girls in my class.’
The event certainly appears to have had the desired affect with many of the young people keen to pursue an engineering career.
‘I would like to go into engineering and become an aerospace engineer in the navy,’ explained Jack.