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School engineers win top Land Rover prize

Published: 7 April 2017 - Sarah Mead

A team of 15- and 16-year-old students from Moor End Academy in Huddersfield have won one of the UK’s top education challenges. Their radio-controlled vehicle tackled rocks and water to win the Land Rover 4x4 in Schools Technology Challenge, a project-based education programme for teams of six students aged 11-19 who design, test and build scale-model remote control vehicles in lessons or at after-school STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) clubs.

Moor End Academy’s team, ‘Robust’, went head-to-head with other schools at their regional final to secure their place at the UK final. At each stage, their work was scrutinised by vehicle design specialists including Jaguar Land Rover graduates, engineers and retirees.

The UK champions received an Arkwright Engineering Scholarship from Land Rover, a well-respected programme which nurtures high-potential future engineering leaders. The two year programme supports scholars throughout their A-levels and includes financial support towards their STEM studies as well as guidance from a Jaguar Land Rover mentor and work experience placement at Jaguar Land Rover. The students also won a £1,000 scholarship for Harper Adams University and a place at the Land Rover 4x4 in Schools World Final 2017.

Team captain Zain Anjam, 16, said: “Good teamwork, friendship and perseverance are the secret to our success. We’re now all very interested in engineering careers in the automotive industry. We’ve got lots of work ahead of us as we prepare our vehicle for the World Final in Abu Dhabi later this year. We can’t wait to represent the UK and will do our best to bring the trophy home.”

Les Ratcliffe, Head of Community Relations at Jaguar Land Rover, said:  “Jaguar Land Rover needs more talented young people to join our growing business. The Land Rover 4x4 in Schools Technology Challenge is an important element of our ‘Inspiring Tomorrow’s Engineers’ school STEM education programme, which increases student learning and engagement in STEM subjects as well as promoting automotive careers.

“Our engineers and graduates mentor each team and we hope many of the talented students we’ve worked with have been inspired to join Jaguar Land Rover in the future and help us design our next generation of vehicles and technologies.”

Team Robust narrowly beat Epsilon Engineers from Denbigh School, Milton Keynes - the only all-female team. Third place went to Team Pinnacle from Royal Grammar School Worcester.

New at this year’s final was a cyber security judging challenge in partnership with the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), a part of GCHQ. For the Cyber Security Award, students had to write a report on the security principles they used for all aspects of their project including intellectual property of their design and the security of their physical materials, information, marketing and communications.

Chris Ensor, Deputy Director for NCSC Skills and Growth, said: “Cyber security is an exciting and rapidly evolving profession, fundamental to our modern digital society, which is why the NCSC is committed to developing the skills talent pipeline through our CyberFirst courses and bursaries. Young people have amazing aptitude and talent to succeed in this field and we are delighted that the Land Rover 4x4 in Schools Technology Challenge is making such a positive contribution to this drive for success.”  

Land Rover engineers designed a challenging test track, with a variety of obstacles including a rope bridge, water dip and rock crawl on a course that travelled through, up and over a Range Rover Evoque Convertible. The towing ability of each vehicle was also tested in a special Land Rover BAR challenge.

Mark Wemyss-Holden, National Project Manager, Land Rover 4x4 in Schools, said: “We’ve seen exceptional talent competing today, with such ingenuity, depth of engineering knowledge and application, as well as innovative design and tremendous hard work. It’s great to see the Land Rover 4x4 in Schools programme bringing STEM learning alive through practical application and really engaging the students in a range of learning disciplines.”

English champions Epsilon Engineers and Scottish champions The Docs, from Woodfarm High School in Glasgow will join Team Robust and Team Pinnacle to represent the UK at the Land Rover 4x4 in Schools World Final in Abu Dhabi in December, where they will compete against the teams from 17 other countries to become world champions.

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