Some 80 sixth form students with an interest in science and engineering attended from schools and colleges in Kent and South East London.
The two day workshop was organised by the charity the Engineering Development Trust (EDT), which is the largest provider of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) enrichment activities for UK youth. The EDT provides opportunities for 11-21 year olds to enhance their technical, personal and employability skills through industry-led projects, industrial placements and specialized courses, enabling them to make an informed decision about their future students and career.
The workshop in EDA enabled students to engineer solutions to real industrial problems provided by companies linked to each school or college. For the workshop, EDA made its laboratories available, as well as providing support from its technicians and academic staff. The workshop also highlighted to the students the wide range of courses our School has to offer, from electronic, computer systems engineering and bioengineering to digital media technology.
This year, the schools attending the two-day workshop were: Tonbridge School, Dane Court Grammar, Chatham Grammar, Newstead Wood School, Cleeve Park, Dartford Grammar, Holmesdale Technology College, Wilmington Grammar, Beths, Wimbledon High, Fortismere, St Marylebone, Simon Langton Boys and Kent College.
Participating companies include: Pfizer, BAE Systems, Instro Precision, DSTL, Balfour Beatty, Crofton Design, SEM, Pavegen, Atkins, Laing O’Rourke, IPS International, Ramboll and Arup.
The projects ranged from designing a new Helicopter flight stick to developing a low noise technique for breaking rocks.
Reporting on the workshop, Matt Fox, EES coordinator for Kent, said, ‘Without doubt the University workshop experience is the highlight of the six-month project for the students. There is an incredible amount of diversity in the projects they tackle and the dedicated staff at the University always manage to assist them towards a successful outcome.’
Commenting on the wider implications of the workshop and scheme, Winston Waller, Deputy Head of School commented: ‘Apart from the practical aspect of the workshop, the two day event provides students with the opportunity to experience a sample of life at the University of Kent, view our facilities, and interact with teaching and research staff from whom they can obtain first-hand information about the diverse range of courses on offer. The workshop plays a formative role in shaping the engineers of tomorrow.’
Since its inception in 1984, annually around 1500 students participate in the Engineering Education Scheme of which 30% are women. A further 89% of students go on to read engineering or associated science/IT/technical degrees with 97% of participating engineers considering the scheme to be relevant to their company’s needs.