The sky’s the limit for young engineers
Teenagers from 22 local schools are tasked with sending a balloon to the edge of space for KMF’s Young Engineer of the Year competition, supported by Staffordshire University.
This is the fourth year that the University has worked with Chesterton company KMF Metals to get Year 10 pupils across the region fired up about STEM subjects - Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.
The students’ mission is to take the best #Selfitude – a selfie in space - by launching Go-Pro cameras attached to helium-filled balloons into space and then using tracking devices and techniques to calculate the landing point for retrieval.
Gareth Higgins, Managing Director of KMF Metals, said: “We suffer hugely from a skills shortage in our sector. We need youngsters to be keen on STEM subjects and this is an obvious way of trying to get them into this industry.”
“Without the University this project couldn’t go ahead. They’ve been an absolutely great advocate of us and our competition, and supportive both financially and with their time and expertise.”
Experts from the University’s Faculty of Computing Engineering and Sciences will offer their knowledge and support throughout the competition and will sponsor three schools, helping students design and build their experiments.
Also working alongside KMF is RAF Cosford, where all the capsules will be launched from in May, and the founders of Sent Into Space who are experts when it comes to sending items into our solar system and were behind the latest Specsavers advert, ‘Teddy In Space’.
Chris Wayman, from the University’s School of Engineering, said: “It’s important for the University to generate enthusiasm because ultimately these students might want to study here and this is a way of introducing them to the different kinds of people and learning styles and projects that we do.”
Chris added: “It’s also about giving the students confidence to speak with outsiders and present their ideas in various forms. I’m really looking forward to the year ahead.”
The competition was officially launched at the University on Friday when its three sponsored schools were briefed and given competiton starter packs. YEOTY 2016 will conclude next July with a ‘red carpet’ Awards Ceremony for the students involved. A film from the launch can be viewed on the University's YouTube page.
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