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Orion laser facility

Orion is one of the most powerful lasers and largest laser facilities in the UK.

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AWE’S Schools Engineering Challenge

Local schools from Berkshire and Hampshire recently put their design and engineering skills to the test, when they competed in AWE’s annual Schools Engineering Challenge.

The popular challenge has now been running for 16 years, and pupils from Reading, Hampshire and Berkshire joined in at the event held at the Tadley Community Centre.

A team of AWE’s graduates had put together the task which asked the students to build a device to launch an object. The theme of the three events to test the devices was based around the Olympics and included shot-put, archery and high jump tests. On the day advice and help were available from the graduates as well as a group from AWE Skills Academy.

The event, for the 14-15 year olds, demonstrated the importance of teamwork, material selection and planning – all vital aspects of a career in engineering or science.

Murray Purves, an AWE physicist and a member of the graduate team, said: “Everyone really enjoyed taking part in the challenge, and it was clear the teachers enjoyed it, too. I was really impressed with the range if ideas and designs that the students came up with, many of which showed real talent and originality.”

Gary Butler, a senior manager at AWE, said: “The event was a great success; the whole day was both well thought out and well organised. The pupils learnt a great deal about how AWE works and how engineering can be challenging, at times, but also a great deal of fun.”

AWE Managing Director, Andrew Jupp, presented the prizes to the students, and first place was awarded to the team from St Bartholomew’s School, Newbury. They received £1,000 to spend on scientific or technical equipment for their school. 

Second place went to Park House, Newbury, who received a cheque for £400.

Third prize went to Kennet School, Thatcham with the school receiving £200.  

All competitors received vouchers and a goody bag, and the schools which took part were: Hemdean House School, Hemdean Road, Reading; St Bartholomew’s School, Andover Road, Newbury; Park House School, Andover Road, Newbury; Kennet School, Stoney Lane, Thatcham; Aldworth Science College, Western Way, Basingstoke; Robert Mays School, West Street, Hook; The Vyne Community School, Vyne Road, Basingstoke. 
 

Notes to Editors

1.     AWE plays a crucial role in national defence by providing and maintaining warheads for  Trident, the UK's nuclear deterrent

2.     AWE is contracted to the Ministry of Defence (MOD) through a Government-owned Contractor Operated (GOCO) arrangement. Whilst our sites and facilities remain in government ownership, their management, day to day operations, and the maintenance of the nuclear stockpile is contracted to a private company AWE Management Limited (AWE ML). AWE ML is a consortium comprising three equal partners: Serco Group plc, the Lockheed Martin Corporation and Jacobs Engineering Group.

3.     For further information contact Media@AWE.co.uk or 01189855888.

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