Students are top young engineers

The winning students from Hurstpierpoint College
The winning students from Hurstpierpoint College

A team of students from a Mid Sussex school have been named South East Young Engineers of the Year after winning two top awards at a science fair.

The five students from Hurstpierpoint College won the Senior Engineering category in the UK Young Scientists and Engineers Competition at the Big Bang Fair South East, as well as the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) Award for Engineering Design.

Ben Berrill, Ben Lawrence, Maisie Hobbs, Callon Peate and Nick Smart, all aged 17, submitted a project called ‘Spring Compression Jig for Fibre Optic Connector’ where they worked with Western Geco, a company specialising in seismic surveys, on a problem they were experiencing with a fibre optic connecting losing huge amounts of data.

The students’ task was to design and manufacture a jig to test and quantify the ‘stickiness’ of the springs in the connector.

Judges at the Big Bang said that the students ‘came over as a strong team’ and that the amount of development work in their project was ‘impressive’.

Dick Atkins, IMechE Regional Education Officer, who presented the Hurstpierpoint team with their award, described them as ‘business-like and professional in their approach and execution’, adding that their work was to BEng degree standard.

IMechE members work in some of the country’s most important and dynamic industries and provide guidance on all aspects of mechanical engineering.

Mr Atkins added: “There is no doubt in my mind that thanks to events like the Big Bang many young minds will take on board the excitement of undertaking serious design and engineering projects.

“With students like these, we are assured of a brighter future for all.”

The Hurstpierpoint team will compete for the title of UK Young Engineers of the Year at the national Big Bang Fair in Birmingham in March 2017.

The Big Bang Fair South East and the regional Big Bang Young Scientists and Engineers Competition are organised by STEM Sussex, the outreach support department of the University of Brighton. For further information, contact STEM Sussex, on01273 641874 or email crawleystemfest@brighton.ac.uk