Sixth form students engineer industry-led products of the future

The School of Engineering Digital Arts (EDA) welcomed a contingent of 65 sixth form students from schools and colleges around the South-East. They worked with mentors to create working models, including a robotic hand, a new sewage system for Ramsgate, and a sentry droid named after a particularly scary teacher!

The two day workshop on 10th and 11th January 2019 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 the students 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 also become Gold Level Industrial Cadets.

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: Newstead Wood, Simon Langton Boys, Wilmington Grammar, Cranbrook School, Chatham and Clarendon Grammar, Highsted Grammar, The Heathland School, St Pauls Girls, and Greensward Academy. Whilst participating companies included: BAE Systems, DSTL, Pavegen, Instro Precision, TPMD, BP, ARUP and Leonardo.

Reporting on the workshop, Matt Fox, EES coordinator for Kent, said, ‘The University workshop experience is the highlight of the six-month project for the students. They really enjoy their time at the University and hopefully it will encourage many of them to take STEM further.’

The Engineering Education Scheme has been running for over 30 years, and since its inception in 1984 over 30,000 students have participated. Nearly 90% 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.