Bright sparks tech challenge

STUDENTS at Helenswood Academy proved they are bright sparks after becoming one of 16 UK schools chosen to take part in a special science and technology programme.

The school’s Year 10 students will take part in the nationwide scheme aimed at getting more girls involved in science, technology, engineering and maths subjects.

Entitled Girls Engineering the Future project is being delivered by The Smallpeice Trust and The Outward Bound Trust with the support of BAE Systems, Bentley Motors, Network Rail and Rolls-Royce.

An induction day for 50 students will take place next month delivered by the Smallpeice Trust, a charity which promotes engineering to young people.

Teams of students will be set a creative challenge to build a new-generation loud speaker to use with a mobile phone or MP3 player.

Once built, each team will work on a name, strapline and logo for their company and will develop reasons why their design is the best and what it has to offer the market. Following the STEM Day, students can opt to go forward to take part in a STEM Club which will run over 10 consecutive weeks.

They will work in teams on a project created to enhance their understanding of engineering. During their active involvement in the after school club students will have the opportunity to meet and be mentored by female engineers from Network Rail who work within the region.

Their task is to provide valuable real life insights, support and guidance for the students.

Students will be tasked with designing and constructing a wave-powered generator to supply electricity to a small island then present it to a panel of judges.

Those showing aptitude will go on to further challenge themselves through a five day residential outdoor learning course delivered by The Outward Bound Trust at their Aberdovey Centre in Snowdonia, north Wales.

Dr Kevin Stenson, chief executive of The Smallpeice Trust, said: “This project aims to encourage and educate our future female talent into engineering. Each of the elements of this project have been created and designed to engage, encourage and excite students about the key role and contribution that women can make in business innovation, design and problem solving.”

Natalie Harling, head of education at The Outward Bound Trust, added: “We’ll be enabling female students to realise their true potential.”