Sixth form students engineer their way to success

After six months of diligence, dedication and application, nineteen teams of sixth form students from schools across Kent and Sussex presented their Engineering Education Scheme projects at a special Celebration and Assessment Day at the University of Kent on Thursday 14 April.Hosted by the Department of Electronics at the University, the event took place between 10.00 and 5.45pm in the main hall of Rutherford College, where a panel of assessors, headed by guest of honour Kate Bellingham – a former Tomorrow’s World presenter, electronic engineer and President of the Young Engineers organisation – questioned each of the participating teams and assessed their projects. These ranged from redesigning the automotive controls of a roadsweeper to extending the platform at a Docklands Light Railway station, and from developing a new PC interface to designing a new form of protective packaging for sterile equipment while it is being transported.Kate Bellingham said: ‘I am delighted to be invited to this Celebration and Assessment Day for the Engineering Education Scheme. I think the EES is great – it’s an excellent way of giving young people a real introduction to engineering, and showing how enjoyable and worthwhile an engineer’s role can be.’Michael Fairhurst, Professor of Computer Vision and Head of the Department of Electronics at the University of Kent said: ‘We have all been enormously impressed by the high standard of the students’ work, by their ingenuity in tackling some difficult problems, and by their sheer hard work. It is clear that these students are already beginning to understand both the challenges and rewards of engineering as a career. All of us in the Department of Electronics have enjoyed participating in this event.’After having their projects rigorously assessed, teams from the following schools received their certificates of achievement at a special ceremony in Rutherford College: Beths Grammar School (Bexley); Bullers Wood School (Chislehurst); Canterbury College; Chatham Grammar School for Boys; Christ the King VIth Form College (Lewisham); Dane Court Grammar School (Broadstairs); Dartford Grammar School; Eastbourne College; Hazelwick School (Crawley); Highsted Grammar School (Sittingbourne); Kent College (Canterbury); Langley Park School for Girls (Beckenham); Maidstone Grammar School; Newstead Wood School for Girls (Orpington); Rainham School for Girls; Southlands School (New Romney); Sutton Valence School; Weald of Kent Grammar School for Girls (Tonbridge); and Wilmington Grammar School for Boys.Closing the event, Frank Manning, Regional Co-ordinator for the Engineering Education Scheme (EES) in Kent said: ‘As Regional Co-ordinator I am always amazed at the development of these sixth form students in the six months from the Scheme launch, through the University of Kent Workshop to the Celebration & Assessment event. They gain confidence in so many ways, and end up having many important skills – such as improved awareness of time management, project management, team work and most of all communication skills. Without doubt all the students involved are winners and can use the experience gained on the Scheme to their advantage when applying for University places or employment in their future careers.’