Royal Academy of Engineering Workshops

The Department of Electronics at the University of Kent’s Canterbury campus will again host an Engineering Education Workshop (4 – 6 January 2006) for sixth form students from schools and colleges in Kent and South East London.
Sponsored by the Royal Academy of Engineering as part of their Engineering Education Scheme (EES), the Workshop will enable students to engineer solutions to real industrial problems provided by companies linked to each school or college. For the Workshop, the Department of Electronics will make available its workshops and laboratories, as well as providing support from its highly qualified technicians and academic staff.
The Workshop will also enable the students to discuss the academic expertise, internationally regarded research and wide range of courses the department has to offer, from electronic or computer systems engineering to medical electronics or multimedia design and technology.
This year, the schools attending the three-day Workshop are: Beths Grammar School (Bexley); Canterbury College; Chatham Grammar School for Boys; Dartford Grammar School; 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; Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Boys; Wilmington Grammar School for Girls (Dartford); King Edward VI Grammar School (Chelmsford); and King Alfred’s Community College(Wantage).
Their projects range from redesigning a sluice gate system for a new road while accommodating and maintaining full flood protection at all times, to the design and development of an automatic solar panel positioning unit that keeps the panel facing the sun during daylight hours.
Participating companies include: Pfizer, Johnston Sweepers, RWE NPower, BAE Systems, May Gurney, Glaxo Smith Kline, British Energy, Jacobs Babtie, DSTL, KEF Audio, Kent County Council, Cameron Taylor, Rutherford Appleton Laboratories, RWE Nucem and Selex Communications.
Commenting on the Engineering Education Workshop, Frank Manning, Regional Co-ordinator for the Engineering Education Scheme in Kent, said, ‘Without doubt the University workshop experience is the highlight of the six-month project for the students. They have dedicated staff at the University to assist them on the many various and complex tasks they have to complete to produce viable solutions to the engineering problems they have been set.’
Dave Smith, Laboratory Manager in the Department of Electronics, added, ‘The Scheme for Kent and Sussex teams was launched at the University in October and work on the project started from then. The purpose of the Engineering Education Workshop is to develop the projects and carry out as much practical work as possible. The Scheme culminates in a celebration and awards day at the University on 26 April 2006, where the students will exhibit their projects and give a presentation to assessors. This is the fifth year that we have hosted the Scheme.’
Commenting on the wider implications of the Workshop and Scheme, Dr Richard Guest, Lecturer and Undergraduate Admissions Officer in the Department of Electronics, said, ‘Apart from the practical aspect of the Workshop, the three 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. Like the EES, the Workshop plays a formative role in shaping the engineers of tomorrow.’
Since its inception in 1984, over 7,000 sixth form students, around 700 schools and 600 industrial companies have participated in the EES.