Six-month engineering challenge for students

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Readers' news

Budding engineers from two Mid Sussex schools had their skills put to the test by professionals from industry and education at an assessment day earlier this month.

Under the Engineering Education Scheme (EES), two teams of Year 12 students from Hurstpierpoint College have been working with engineers from local companies, Hemsley Orell Partnership and Schlumberger, to solve challenging real-life problems while a team of Year 12 students from Burgess Hill School for Girls have been working with engineers from Photek on a project aimed at creating an ultra-violet (UV) spectrometer.

In the face of continuous risks of flooding, Hemsley Orrell Partnership’s team from Hurst had to design a hull system for an amphibious home that would solve many of the problems facing current homes that can float, making them easier to market in the future. Meanwhile, the Hurst team working with Schlumberger worked to design and test a system to clean cable connectors in seismic cables, used by the company to enable very fast data transmission.

The project for Burgess Hill School for Girls was based around a UV photometer for testing the efficiency of image intensifiers. The sixth-formers had to design a vacuum chamber and motor mounting using 3D modelling software, then fit and programme the motor.

Students from both schools presented their results at a Celebration and Assessment Day (CAD) at the University of Brighton on 16th April, where the projects were assessed by professionals from industry and education against a series of set criteria.

The Engineering Education Scheme aims to give students an experience of real engineering and to encourage them to consider to a related career path. Key skills such as teamwork, communication, presentation, project management and time management are also developed. A residential university workshop gives the students the opportunity to work closely with both their teacher and engineers from industry.

For further information, contact Jo McKinney-Green, Project Manager, STEM Sussex, University of Brighton, tel. 01273 641874 or email

Report contributed by Sarah Andrews, STEM Sussex.