From 24th to 27th July 2012, NSB student, Oliver Hartfield, was given a unique insight into what is involved in the design and construction of a structure. Organised by educational charity, The Smallpeice Trust and sponsored by Coventry University, forty-six students gained a valuable practical knowledge of some of the greatest engineering challenges of our time.
Over the four-day residential course, students aged 16 and 17, learnt about the fundamentals of structural engineering including pressures, stresses and strains. They spent time discovering the principles of statics, mechanics, different structure forms and materials. Working in small teams, the students competed against each other in a bridge building task, with constraints such as a set budget and certain test criteria. Students were able to use the knowledge they had recently gained as they built their structures, including looking at the strength of various materials to see how their inclusion may necessitate a change in design.
As part of the course the students went on a campus tour which gave them the chance to explore the university's facilities, including the recently built Engineering and Computing building.
Throughout the four days students developed life skills such as teamwork, communication, problem solving and time management. They also had the opportunity to find out about relevant engineering degrees, under guidance of technical specialists who provided valuable careers advice.
Spokesperson for The Smallpeice Trust, Lucy Kelly commented, "Thanks to Coventry University, we have been able to give budding engineers the chance to create solutions to real- life problems. Structural engineers are involved in some of the world's biggest challenges, ensuring buildings and other structures are fit for purpose so we are confident that this type of activity will enthuse and encourage more young people to consider careers in structural engineering."
David Trujillo, Senior Lecturer in the Department of the Built Environment t Coventry University said: "It has been a pleasure to work with this group of students, they are keen, hard-working, bright, committed and very inquisitive. The future of the profession is in safe hands, if future engineers are anything like them."
Mike Griffiths Headteacher at NSB said: "I am so pleased that Ollie was successful with his application, we have had a number of students in recent years that have benefitted from links with The Smallpeice Trust. Engineering is key to our nation's future."