Youngsters from across the UK gathered at HMS Sultan, Gosport recently in order to compete in The Royal Navy Engineering Challenge – Exercise Downbird Recovery.
Held in partnership with University Technical Colleges (UTCs), Eaton Ltd, Babcock and BAE Systems, the Challenge aimed to inspire young people to engage further with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects through having to design and build two remote-controlled vehicles, a land-based recovery vehicle capable of carrying a stranded helicopter and a ship that can transport it to safety.
Over 70 teams competed in the Challenge, including four Year 10 students from UTC Warrington who enjoyed the opportunity to experience 24 hours of Naval life, including a night on board HMS Bristol.
Prizes were awarded across 10 different categories between groups aged 14-16, 16-18 and for apprentices from industry aged 18-24 with the RAF team from RAF Cosford, the ‘Bomber Buoys’ declared overall winners for their design.
The Chairman of the Baker Dearing Educational Trust, The Rt Hon Lord Baker of Dorking said: “I’m delighted to see so many students from University Technical Colleges (UTCs) taking part in this year’s Royal Navy Engineering Challenge. Through this competition, the Royal Navy offer UTC students a unique experience and the opportunity to apply the technical knowledge and practical skills they learn every day at their UTC. The work the Royal Navy does to inspire young engineers has never been more important as this country’s need for talent and skills has never been greater.”
The Navy’s head of training and lead STEM coordinator, Commodore Andy Cree, said: “Today marked another hugely enjoyable milestone in the Royal Navy’s annual challenge and my congratulations go to all those who completed it. Our most complex challenge to date brought together elements of additive manufacture and robotics in real-world conditions and it was fascinating to see over 70 teams across 3 age groups competing to solve the same problem, with shared learning all round.”