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UK Sport at Farnborough Air Show

UK Sport Partnership Engineering Graduate
When starting the UK Sport graduate placement, I quickly learnt how important the promotion and publicity aspects of the placement are. This was further apparent when we were asked to put together an exhibition stand for the 2018 Farnborough International Air show.
Having never previously worked at an air show I was unaware just how much effort is required behind the scenes to ensure the days run smoothly. Along with my UK Sport graduate counterpart, Rebecca Carrahar, we were able to organise the UK Sport exhibition across the whole weekend, ensuring that everything ran smoothly, from stand manners to exhbit items, to lunch breaks! I must point out at this point that Rebecca was fantastic, she left no stone unturned and without her contacts based in Farnborough the whole weekend would have been much more difficult!
 
With a big event on the horizon we felt that it was time to introduce a new exhibition model into the partnership. The current models we have, such as the Taekwondo vests and VR headsets have been excellent in previous events, but it’s always good to keep refreshing the identity of the partnership to ensure people remain engaged with the new sports that we are working on. With this in mind we decided to create an exhibition item that would demonstrate work we have done with numerous sports, such as bobsleigh and wheelchair racing. A miniature wind tunnel seemed an ideal fit for what we wanted. It enables people to understand the work that takes place at Warton without needing to come on site, and provides an example of how the technology we are using to design and build fighter jets, is exactly the same for how we test sporting equipment. In the week building up to air show, the final assembly of the wind tunnel was completed, and after a mad rush to get the documentation signed off, we were good to go!
 
 
Image of wind tunnel model
 
 
Having never been to Farnborough, I was completely blown away by the scale of the event. It’s a major event for any aviation fan, but even more so for BAE Systems. Although I am slightly biased, of all of the exhibition halls and stands that I was able to get around across the weekend, the BAE Systems’ hall was by far superior! (The unveiling on the Monday of the concept for future fighter, Tempest, helped massively!). Friday was labelled ‘futures day’, and as such saw 5000 school children on site, eager to explore the variety of interactive exhibits across the site. This was a great chance to engage with STEM students, many of whom will be considering careers within engineering. Having done numerous such things when I was in school, it was rewarding for me to be on the other side, finding myself explaining the basics of aerodynamics in the hope that it inspires the next generation of engineers.
 
Across the weekend we were joined by numerous UK Sport graduates from the past 18 months, as well as those that hope to work on the partnership in the future. It was interesting to understand the projects that each of them have worked on, particularly those that are now in the process of being publicised, as I’ve relaised that it’s difficult to keep up with the ongoing list of sports that we’ve worked with! Learning the back story of a project helps to understand how a project first came about and what steps were taken in order to develop it into something tangible.
 
On the Friday we welcomed Fiona White and Naomi Stenhouse, of UK Sport and the English Institute of Sport respectively. Seeing as they are our main contacts within each organisation, it was good for them to be able to experience the air show, and understand how we promote the work that we do with their organisations. The new wind tunnel model was a big success, and gave us a good chance to outline improvements we aim to make in the future.
 
Having never been to Farnborough, I was amazed by the scale of the event. It’s a major event for any aviation fan! Friday was labelled ‘futures day’, and as such saw 5000 school children on site, eager to explore the variety of interactive exhibits across the site. This was a great chance to engage with STEM students, many of whom will be considering careers within engineering. Having done numerous such things when I was in school, it was rewarding for me to be on the other side, finding myself explaining the basics of aerodynamics in the hope that it inspires the next generation of engineers.
top Image of BAE Systems graduate
Westley Mark UK Sport Partnership Engineering Graduate 3 December 2018