in Defence / Events

Bright young sparks rise to Royal Navy Engineering Challenge

Posted 23 March 2018 · Add Comment

Youngsters from across the UK gathered at HMS Sultan, Gosport recently in order to compete in The Royal Navy Engineering Challenge - Exercise Clean Sweep to mark the Year of Engineering 2018.

Above: Eaton UTC who won best Apprentice, Manufacture and Newcomer (left to right) Mitchell Best, Nick Evans, Sam Ruthersford and James Moss.
Courtesy Royal Navy

Held in partnership with University Technical Colleges (UTCs) and affiliated employers, schools, Babcock and BAE Systems, the Challenge which involved building a remote-controlled vessel capable of recovering objects on the seabed aimed to inspire young people to engage further with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects.

Above: Members from WMF Acadamy.
Courtesy Royal Navy

Seventy-five teams competed in the Challenge, with several of the teams enjoying the opportunity to experience 24 hours of Naval life, including a night on board HMS Bristol.

This year’s Challenge was affiliated with the aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales, sister ship to HMS Queen Elizabeth, the Royal Navy’s newest and largest-ever warship.

Above: Members from WMF Acadamy (left to right) WO2 Ure, Danny sutton, Sam billgton and Thomas Cuts.
Courtesy Royal Navy

The task was to build a remote-controlled vessel that can recover objects on the sea floor that need to be removed before the ship arrives in port.

Above: Air Engineering Technicians (left to right) AET Lannon and AET Kean.
Courtesy Royal Navy

With the event falling in the Year of Engineering, the event gave everyone involved the chance to demonstrate how organisations across the engineering industry, such as the Royal Navy, Babcock and BAE Systems are encouraging young people into STEM careers.

Above: Members from BAE (left to right) Toby Harlow, Mr Richard Thompson, Mr Tom Parson, Kurtis Eyers and James Lawerence.
Courtesy Royal Navy

Outside of competition itself, the youngsters were given the opportunity to enjoy several STEM-related displays and activities including tours of the Establishment’s facilities such as helicopters, gas turbines and diesel engines.

Prizes were awarded across six different categories between groups aged 14-16, 16-18 for apprentices from industry aged 18-24, with teams Extracting Compass from UTC Swindon, Impact from HAE UTC and Eaton by a Shark from Eaton Aerospace Systems overall winners in the respective categories.

Above: Students from the Royal Hospital School (left to right) Rupert Todd, Finn Corloran,Henry Gatyton, Guy Parker and Megan Aslet-Clark.
Courtesy Royal Navy

UTC Portsmouth which opened in September, entered six teams in the competition for the first time. Year 10 student Parys Reid said:  “Every other time trial that we have done we have kind of just sank and our design has changed a lot since we started. We have kind of ended up with a double decker of a boat with our electrics at the bottom and our crane on top.

"We only opened in September and this has been the first opportunity that we have had to see what the other UTCs are like and it’s been really interesting. I hope we can get to take part again next year.”

Freya Long, Design and Tech Engineering Teacher at UTC Portsmouth said: “I think they’ve enjoyed what they’ve done. There’s lots of problem solving that’s been going on and they’ve tried to do quite a lot and might have benefited from doing more testing, but most teams have stayed afloat.”

“I’m so proud of them and it’s given us a lot to work on for next year and looking to see what lots of other teams have been able to produce has been really useful.”

Vice Admiral Sir Jonathan Woodcock KCB OBE, Second Sea Lord said: “This annual engineering challenge which grows from strength to strength each year offers an invaluable opportunity for the Royal Navy to inspire the engineers of the future whilst at the same time encouraging innovation and showcasing the variety of roles and opportunities that exist for those wishing to pursue a career in engineering.”

“UTCs offer the opportunity for young people to gain the academic and technical qualifications that are valued by the Royal Navy and other industry partners and this annual challenge provides an excellent example of the practical application of the theoretical learning they have received in the classroom.”

Ian Wilkins, Assistant Principal of Heathrow UTC, said: “Staying on HMS Bristol for a night was a most memorable experience that I'm sure all our teams enjoyed. We started early with a wakeup call at 5.30a.m ready for a hearty breakfast that set us up for a successful day. I was so proud of all the students that took part in the event. Getting through to the finals was a major achievement so everyone on the trip should be extremely proud. The winning teams worked extremely hard on their vehicles and their presentations. They fully deserve the Amazon vouchers they received for coming first in the three different categories. I would like to thank the staff involved with the trip and the Royal Navy for hosting the event.” 

Award winners

Best presentation
Aquaholics – HAE UTC

Most innovative
Impact – HAE UTC

Best manufacture
Eaton by a Shark- Eaton Aerospace Systems

Resilience prize
HMS The Claw – The Leigh UTC

Best newcomer
Eaton by a Shark- Eaton Aerospace Systems

Best in age group
KS4 Winners: Extracting Compass – UTC Swindon

Runners up: HMS Cheeseknife – Scarborough UTC

KS5 Winners: Impact – HAE UTC

Runners up: HMS Harley – The Leigh UTC

Winners: Eaton by a Shark- Eaton Aerospace Systems

Runners up: Intrepid – BAE Systems




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