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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 Schools' Engineering Challenge

ENGINEERING LINKS PAST AND FUTURE AT AWE SCHOOLS’ ENGINEERING CHALLENGE

 Students from eight schools and colleges designed and built marvellous mediaeval machines during the annual AWE School’s Engineering Challenge, held at AWE’s Aldermaston Campus.

The teams were each given the same items with which to build a working model of a Trebuchet (a large-scale catapault, historically used to hurl projectiles during sieges). Each team’s machine was then assessed for distance, power and accuracy and the students were also quizzed on their engineering design and general physics knowledge. Overall winners were Park House School and Sports College, with Robert Mays School second and Bulmershe College in third. Other schools taking part were Kendrick School; Little Heath Secondary School; St Gabriels School; Trinity School and Performing Arts College and Kennet Secondary School.

 The event is organized by AWE graduates with a physics, chemistry and engineering background, supported by apprentices from the AWE Skills Academy. Now in its 20th year, it involves students in hands-on challenges, to show how the variety of opportunities in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) offer exciting and rewarding careers. Reading Borough Councillor, Jane Stanford-Beale, has a longstanding interest in educational and career opportunities for young people. She said:

“The enthusiasm and ingenuity with which the teams tackled the challenge was wonderful to see. I was impressed by the skills of AWE’s graduates and apprentices, who seemed to enjoy it as much as the students, whilst providing technical guidance and support. It is so important to build these skills amongst young people as they carry our future with them. I wish all the participants success in their ongoing education and who knows – we may see them back at AWE in a few years’ time!” 

AWE Chief Executive, Iain Coucher, is a passionate advocate for apprenticeship schemes and he presented the winning teams with their prizes. He said: “I really enjoyed the energy and inspiration displayed by the students taking part today. The exciting news is that AWE is expanding its Skills Academy Apprenticeship Scheme to offer excellence in an even wider range of areas and maybe some of our contestants today will join us as an apprentice in future.” News of the expanded Apprentice Scheme will be on www.awe.co.uk by the end of November, together with locations for open days in Basingstoke, Newbury and Reading. The application process runs from the beginning of December until the end of January and covers the following areas:

  • Electronics
  • Electrical Maintenance
  • Control and Instrumentation
  • Precision Machining
  • Mechanical Maintenance
  • Laboratory Technicians
  • Process Operators
  • Health Physics
  • Technical Author
  • Motor Vehicle

Photo:

Cllr Jane Stanford-Beale and AWE Chief Executive Iain Coucher, with one of the prizewinning teams.

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