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Engineering floats their boat

Emily Batten and Sanjay Jethwa with their winning Ship
School children from Portsmouth and Surrey have put their design and build skills to the test in the BAE Systems Schools Engineering Challenge 2013 held next to HMS Victory in Portsmouth.

The 12 week challenge was co-ordinated by BAE Systems Maritime who sent apprentices and graduates into the schools to teach the principles of engineering and naval architecture and then provided materials and worked with the pupils to design their own working ship models.

The teams then went head to head in rigorous “sea trials” at HM Naval Base Portsmouth in which each model was assessed on its speed, cargo carrying capability, sea keeping and survivability.

As well as being home to HMS Victory, the world’s oldest commissioned warship, HM Naval Base Portsmouth is home to the Royal Navy’s new Type 45 destroyers and will also be the home of the future flagship aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth. The pupils were provided with a tour of the base and shown the Small Boat Centre of Excellence to see BAE Systems engineers at work.

Kevin McLeod, Engineering Director at BAE Systems Maritime - Naval Ships, said: “The challenge is a great way to get pupils involved in engineering and show them that it can be exciting, but also lead to rewarding career opportunities within the industry.

The competing schools were Admiral Lord Nelson School, Oakland Catholic School, Portsmouth Grammar School, City of Portsmouth Girls School, St Edmunds Catholic School and St Johns College, as well as Nower Hill from London.

The winning team was composed of Emily Batten and Sanjay Jethwa from Nower Hill High School in Surrey with their ‘iShip.’ Surrey is home to BAE Systems sites in New Malden and Frimley where engineers are working on the Combat Systems of naval ships.

Emily said: ‘I’m really proud and excited to have won. The challenge turned out to be much more fun than I thought it would be. I would like to be an engineer one day if my grades are good enough.’

BAE Systems invests £79m per year in education, training and skills related activities.  This includes funding the company’s apprentice and graduate training programmes, schools liaison and university research and development programmes. As one of the largest employers of skilled engineers in the UK, BAE Systems is committed to encouraging young people to take a greater interest in science, technology, engineering and maths. The schools engineering challenge forms part of BAE Systems’ Skills 2020 programme, which will help ensure the company has the skills to compete successfully over the next decade and beyond.

In addition to the standard Schools Engineering Challenge programme, BAE Systems is also offering to help the students complete a bronze level British Science Association CREST Award. The Creativity in Science and Technology Awards from the BSA are designed to recognise young people’s project work in STEM subjects and can be used to enhance college, university or apprentice scheme applications.

The event has been sponsored by a number of organisations and individuals including: David Bolton - Technical Director of BAE Systems Naval Ships, RINA/IMarEST Southern joint branch - Royal Institute of Naval Architects / The Institute of Marine Engineering, Science & Technology Southern joint branch, IMechE - Institute of Mechanical Engineers, IET - Institute of Engineering and Technology, SEMTA - Sector Skills Council for Science, Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies.