Our company will be UK Sport’s Official Engineering Partner providing engineering expertise, time and materials worth £600,000. Engineers and sports scientists at the two organisations, and at the English Institute of Sport, have worked together since 2009. In that time, 250 British athletes from 30 different sports have benefitted from some of the UK’s most advanced technologies. Through the partnership, both organisations are able to harness the ‘best of British’ in attracting and developing sports and engineering talent.
The engineering partnership will support British athletes as they prepare for national and international competitions including the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Games and Tokyo 2020. Our Company is UK Sport’s longest serving provider of engineering and technology supporting sports including speed-skating, windsurfing, track-cycling, wheelchair racing, taekwondo, bobsleigh, pentathlon, equestrian eventing and sailing. The Company’s technologies and engineers have helped the sports achieve some critical marginal gains and secure a clutch of medals including a Gold for skeleton athlete Amy Williams in 2010 and a Gold for Jade Jones in the 2012 Olympics taekwondo competition. In both cases BAE Systems structural engineers studied existing sports equipment and recommended adjustments and improved techniques for use.
In addition to structural engineers, specialists in materials, sensors, aerodynamics, electronics as well as naval architects have worked on the partnership from across BAE Systems’ UK business. Recent projects include employing Virtual Reality technology to give athletes a home-field advantage on unfamiliar tracks, an advanced cycling ergometer used to measure the power output of British cyclists, and a cutting-edge optical sensor supporting the British BMX team in training. Currently engineers are working with a number of sports on confidential projects with a focus on achieving marginal gains at future national and international competitions.
The engineering element of the partnership is managed out of the Company’s Filton site and has provided engineering development opportunities for more than 30 graduates and apprentices over the first two phases – becoming one of the most sought-after engineering placements for young people at BAE Systems. Moreover, demonstrating the application of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) to real-world engineering challenges to young people in schools and colleges has supported the drive to address the engineering skills shortage in the UK – an annual shortfall of 20,000 engineering graduates.1
“As a major British business and leading technology company we’re proud to be working with the very best of the nation’s athletes,” said Nigel Whitehead, Group Managing Director at BAE Systems. “This partnership has been very successful in showing the importance and relevance of engineering and technology to a wide range of applications, and in doing so encouraging young people to consider a career in engineering.““This is the third phase of a hugely important partnership for us, which has already benefited more than 30 different Olympic and Paralympic sports – many of whom have gone on to win medals in recent Games,” said Liz Nicholl, Chief Executive at UK Sport. “Having access to BAE Systems’ engineering capabilities has significantly increased our technical ability, helping our athletes and their coaches seek those winning margins, both in training and in competition. It also helps us highlight the range of sports available to young people – giving them even more incentive to get involved from an early age and helping us develop young British talent.”