Home » Latest News » Engineering their futures

College News

Engineering their futures

Date Posted: 03/03/2017 | Posted In: Latest news

QE was delighted to work with enthusiastic engineers who were floating on air after competing in a hovercraft design challenge at the College.

Students from Longfield Academy, Darlington, pitted their technical and creative skills against teams of Year 10 pupils from St Aidan’s Academy, Hummersknott Academy and Hurworth Academy to be crowned overall winners in the annual Foundation for Jobs competition.

The event, organised and hosted by QE, is part of a Foundation for Jobs STEM initiative helping students understand the benefits of careers in engineering and the importance of science, technology, engineering and maths both at school and in further education.

Students were challenged to design and build a working hovercraft in just four hours, from insulation board and plastic sheeting. They had to calculate the dimensions and proportions of the vehicle, taking into account the weight of the pilot as well as other design constraints, including the size of the engine which was fashioned from a garden leaf blower.

Each team of students then decorated, tested and raced against each other before prizes were awarded for performance and design.

The pupils from the schools were helped by QE’s students who are part of the College’s Future Engineers programme; a scheme designed to give prospective engineers work experience placements and other activities to develop their understanding of careers in this field.

Longfield Academy assistant faculty leader and STEM co-ordinator Danny Rich, who worked in electrical engineering before re-training as a teacher, said: “I am delighted that our students have won this year’s challenge.

“They each set themselves tasks within the team and worked really hard to produce a magnificent design.

“All members of our team are currently studying GCSE engineering, a subject that was introduced to our curriculum last year, and because of my own background within the field I’m able not only to help students learn from text books but also from my own industry experience.”

Longfield Academy’s chief creative designer Erin Greensmith, 14, of Darlington, added: “In Year 9 I studied resistant materials and got an A for my early entry GCSE exam.

“This sparked my interest in engineering and today’s challenge has really helped inspire me to see how many different careers are available within the industry.

“It’s not all mechanical and dirty jobs which many people imagine when they think of engineering; there are a lot more processes involved and I’m now hoping to be able to study engineering at university in the future.”

The wining team of Erin Greensmith, Jade Hall, Robert Coggins, Adam Rush, Ethan Lawrence, Adam Crudace, Lewis Ainslie and Charlie Jaye were presented with the winners’ trophy by vice principal of QE Laurence Job.

Foundation for Jobs co-ordinator Owen McAteer said: “This is the fifth year that we have challenged teams of students across Darlington to take part in the hovercraft challenge.

“It really is a fantastic event that inspires young people and challenges them to put the scientific, mathematic, engineering and creative skills they have learnt in the classroom into practice in an industry related way.”