Engineering Olympics a massive success

Iyesha Stacey and Sarah Moore  from Mendip Studio School in Writhlington, Bath, worked on the Ejector Seat Challenge.

Iyesha Stacey and Sarah Moore from Mendip Studio School in Writhlington, Bath, worked on the Ejector Seat Challenge

Schools from across South Wales and the South West of England have taken part in the annual Engineering Olympics held at the University of South Wales.

The competition involved teams from schools and colleges competing in three events – the Robo-Rally Challenge, the Platform Ejector Seat Challenge, and the Robot Programming Challenge,

Iyesha Stacey and Sarah Moore, both 15, from Mendip Studio School in Writhlington, Bath, worked on the Ejector Seat Challenge.

Iyesha said: “We had a lot of criteria to think about when we were making this, so it was quite challenging, but we’ve really enjoyed it.”

Sarah added: “Trying out different ideas has definitely been the most fun part of the challenge. I enjoy design tasks like this.”

Ruben Wharton, Oliver Blacklidge and Ben Mills, all 15, from Writhlington School in Bath, worked on the Robo-Rally challenge.

Ruben said: “We’ve enjoyed working on the robot and testing it on the track to see how accurate our programming is. I’m interested in electrical engineering so this has been a great challenge to get involved with – and the Engineering Olympics has been a lot more fun than sitting in our classroom.”

Katy White, 14, Katie Hopkin, 14, Beca Davies, 13, Alex Shufflebotham, 14 and Jacob Isaac, 13, all from Ysgol Dyffryn Aman in Ammanford, worked on the Robot Programming Challenge.

Katy said: “We’ve enjoyed working as a team to make the robot travel as fast as possible.”

Katie added: “It’s been great to get out of the classroom and get on with the practical side of engineering, and see how things work in real life.”

Damian Jones, Design and Technology teacher at Ysgol Dyffryn Aman, said: “The students have worked on this challenge in their own time, so it’s really encouraging to see them come together through their shared interest in engineering.

“Events such as the Engineering Olympics are a great way of engaging students and getting them to think about careers in so many different sectors, with challenges that are a novel alternative to heavy industry and workshop based tasks.”

Head of the School of Engineering at the University of South Wales, Dr Daphne O’Doherty, said: “The teams brought some wonderful and creative ideas with them to the Engineering Olympics this year, and it was great to see such a high standard of engineering ingenuity.

“Through events like this, we can give such young people a chance to see for themselves the wide range of engineering provision we have at the University of South Wales, from aerospace and electrical/electronic to mechanical and civil engineering and the built environment.

“We have the largest engineering provision in Wales and, with our top-class facilities, including our new multi-million-pound CAPSE (Centre of Automotive and Power Systems Engineering) building and the extended Aerospace Centre – which was opened last autumn by Keith Williams, the then chairman and chief executive of British Airways - we are able to offer our students excellent learning experience and preparation for a wide range of careers in the industry.

“We want the next generation of engineers to have first-hand experience of what it takes to succeed in their chosen career – and the Olympics offers them the chance to test their skills while having the support of our experts, who can point them in the right direction.”

Eight schools and colleges took part in the various challenges. They were; Ysgol Dyffryn Aman in Ammanford, Cardiff and Vale College, Coleg Gwent in Newport, Merthyr College, Neath Port Talbot College, St Cyres in Penarth, Writhlington School in Bath, Bristol Grammar School, and Coleg y Cymoedd.


Robot Programming Challenge: First St Cyres Comprehensive School, second Writhlington School, third Coleg y Cymoedd.

Platform Ejector Seat Challenge: First Writhlington School, second Merthyr College.

Robo-Rally Challenge: First Bristol Grammar School, second Cardiff and Vale College, third Writhlington School

Sense HAT Puzzle Boz Challenge: Joint first were Rob & Thomas and Kieron & Callum, all from Merthyr College.

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