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Orion laser facility

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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 17 years, and pupils from nine schools across 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 vehicle . The theme of the three events to test the devices was based around ‘secret agents’.

On the day advice and help were available from the graduates. 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.

Competing in teams of four, the students were tasked to design and build a vehicle, to race a distance, knock down obstacles and conquer an off-road assault course. The winners received a cash prize for their school and a selection of science and engineering based goodies for the students.

Liz Merrin, senior science technician, from The Costello School, in Basingstoke, said: “Thank you for a superb day; it was professionally arranged and executed with a touch of flair into the world of James Bond to capture pupils’ imagination.”

By arranging the day into three ‘missions’ the schools were required to adapt and improve their designs, working to tight schedules. Additional prizes were given to the team with the best design and most improved team.

Shan James, of The Vyne Community School, said: “This is exactly the kind of challenge that students need, and it was brilliant to be able to come and take part in such a well thought out and delivered activity.”

Lauren Hobbs, one of the graduate team, said: “The day was a great success and as a team we thoroughly enjoyed devising the event and making sure it ran smoothly. The most important thing was that the pupils enjoyed themselves, and the feedback we had was fantastic. 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’s Graeme Nicholson Director Production, Science and Technology, presented the prizes to the students, and first place was awarded to the team from The Costello School. They received £600 to spend on scientific or technical equipment for their school.

Second place went to Park House School, Andover Road, Newbury, who received a cheque for £350.

Third place, and a cheque for £250, went to Hemdean House School, Hemdean Road, Reading.

All competitors received vouchers and a goody bag, and the other schools which took part were: Kendrick School, in Reading; Kennet School, Stoney Lane, Thatcham; Little Heath School in Tilehurst; St Bartholomew’s School, Andover Road, Newbury; The Vyne Community School, Vyne Road, Basingstoke, and Robert Mays School, West Street, Hook.

 

Notes to Editors:

  1. AWE plc at Aldermaston and Burghfield, manage and operate the Atomic Weapons Establishment on behalf of the Ministry of Defence, manufacturing and maintaining the warheads for the UK’s nuclear deterrent.
  2. All AWE press releases are available on our website: www.awe.co.uk

Contact:
AWE PRESS OFFICE 0118 985 5888
Val Hincks, 0118 985 6410
 

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