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School workshop helps to inspire young people into becoming the engineers of the future

Published: 11 June 2013 - Rachael Morling

Cambridge Design Partnership has held its first school workshop with GCSE pupils from Stanborough School in Hertfordshire. The initiative is part of a wider campaign by the company to support STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education and inspire young people to become the scientists and engineers of the future.

On Tuesday 4th June, fourteen pupils between the ages of 13-14 were taken on a tour of the labs and workshops at Cambridge Design Partnership following an introduction to the company by Dr Jez Clements, which included an overview of careers in engineering.

As an example of working with technology and engineering, pupils were shown the design process around the Bloodhound SSC steering wheel, which CDP is currently finalising for manufacture, on a tour which highlighted CAD and 3D printing of prototypes. They then worked in teams to plan and build a Bloodhound balloon car, working alongside Cambridge Design Partnership engineers to optimise their designs and take part in test runs. The pupils then raced their cars against the other teams in a final challenge, with their speed measured by a special detector built by CDP for the activity. Retroreflective infra-red position sensors timed the cars over a set distance to calculate speed, and were scaled up to the size of real cars to see if the balloon cars could go the equivalent of 1,000mph!

The workshop was run by Ben Crundwell, an electronic engineer at Cambridge Design Partnership who is also a STEM Ambassador. STEM Ambassadors work on a voluntary basis on behalf of STEMNET, an independent organisation that helps create opportunities to inspire young people in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

Jez Clements, partner, Cambridge Design Partnership said: “This workshop has given us a great platform to continue with our STEM initiative, and speak to the next generation about the exciting possibilities offered by STEM subjects. Using our involvement in the Bloodhound Project as an example gave us a great opportunity to show how exciting STEM careers can be, and to highlight the importance of the UK’s engineering industry.”

Kristin Coldwell, mathematics teacher at Stanborough School added: “This has been a brilliant opportunity for our pupils to see behind the scenes at a real technology & engineering workplace. Days like this help bring science and maths to life.”

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