Winners in a south west schools engineering competition supported by Defence Equipment and Support have been announced.
The overall winner for the region was 10-year-old Neve Jeffrey from West Town Lane Academy in Bristol, who came up with the idea of a bird identifier – a set of binoculars that identifies the bird you are looking at.
“I’m really happy, I didn’t know I was going to be the overall winner, so I’m really excited.
“The other designs were really good as well, and I thought someone else was going to win because it was about rubbish which is a main problem this year. It’s amazing that mine was chosen (from the 2,700 in the south west and of 37,000 across the country).”
Linking in with the Year of Engineering – a national campaign to inspire the next generation of engineers – DE&S launched the south west Primary Engineer and Secondary Engineer Leaders Awards 2018 with an event at MOD Abbey Wood in January attended by winner Neve.
“I came up with the idea just from coming to the MOD and speaking to the engineers about the drones which identify things and can find people. It was exciting to see the really cool kit and how it works,”
“I go to Slimbridge (Wetland Centre) to look at the Kingfisher hides and I thought it (the binoculars) would be good.
“It would work by programming all the species of birds into the binoculars in a memory stick and then a microphone would tell you what they are.
“The competition has made me think a bit more about engineering and maybe something I might want to do.”
Other winning entries announced at a ceremony at University of the West of England (UWE) included a Dream Sucker, The Medicine Watch and Spray-on Wrapping Paper.
The design was chosen by a panel, which included four representatives from DE&S, because it was totally unique and could be turned to a wide range of everyday problems, including use by the emergency services.
Year of Engineering Leaders award winner Neve (centre) pictured at a recent engineering event held DE&S MOD Abbey Wood.
The competition had posed the question “If you were an engineer what would you do?”, challenging children to come up with creative engineering ideas to inspire young people and get them excited about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) based projects
As part of the competition process STEM ambassadors from DE&S visited several of the schools taking part to be interviewed by the pupils and to help the children with their designs.
The organisation also provided over 80 engineers to grade more than 2,700 entries from across the region and was given the opportunity to choose the overall winner.
Air Marshal Julian Young, Chief of Materiel Air at DE&S and the Defence Engineering Champion, presented the awards alongside Primary Engineer CEO Dr Susan Scurlock.
“I was delighted to learn how genuinely amazed our Engineers have been at the variety of technical solutions to real issues the Students have come up with.
“They have been impressed with the great ingenuity in designs, in how the Students have set about solving problems that have affected them directly and the sheer diversity of ideas, which shows just how influential the Leaders Award has been.
“We are proud to have been involved in the Leaders Award in 2018, the Year of Engineering, and ultimately to help address the long-term skills shortfall in engineering across the UK. It is clear there are great things to come from our future engineering minds.”
The entries were shortlisted to two per year group across secondary and primary school ages, with pupils and their parents invited to the awards ceremony at the UWE.
All shortlisted entries were displayed to the public at UWE and one of the designs will be brought to life by the university’s engineering students.
To find out more about the awards visit leadersaward.com.