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Fylde Coast pupils help launch prestigious competition

Young students in science and engineering at a Fylde coast school have helped launch a prestigious competition with a big cash prize.

This will be the seventh year of The Gazette Young Engineers Challenge which is sponsored by Cuadrilla Resources and facilitated by Blackpool and the Fylde College.

St Bede’s High School in Lytham is the current holder of The Young Engineers Challenge and the school won £10,000 after excelling in the competition earlier this year.

St Bede’s excelled in a challenge where schools were tasked with designing and constructing an electromagnet crane and manoeuvring it from a fixed base to pick up numbered metal objects and successfully place them into a container. Each object carried a number of points and St Bede’s amassed the greatest points tally to be crowned the overall winner.

Andy Shaw, Subject Leader in Design & Technology said the school was delighted to win the competition, and that the children should be very proud of themselves.  The huge prize of £10,000 has made a massive difference to the school’s science facilities in the classrooms.

The school has now made a major investment in 3D, purchasing two  printers, laptops and a state of the art Roto Cam milling machine which enables students to design and construct large scale 3D models.

He said: “This funding couldn’t have come at a better time, I don’t know what we would have done without it.  The equipment has helped the students enormously with their GCSE curriculum, and the number of students opting to take STEM subjects has increased significantly.”

Now the college is preparing for the next annual competition which will take place in March next year and will see up to 26 schools from across the Fylde coast battle it out for the cash prizes, which go towards improving STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) facilities in winning schools.

Jill Overland, Finance & Corporate Services Director at Cuadrilla, said: “I and many of the team at Cuadrilla have had the privilege of attending the Young Engineers competition over the past few years.

“It is wonderful to see how St Bede’s have utilised the £10,000 they won to provide much-needed new equipment and resources for the students. As we enter the seventh year of the competition, I hope that it continues to provide a spark for all students to consider STEM and the many career opportunities that this can open up.

“As a local employer, we are committed to Putting Lancashire First and helping to train the next generation of engineers and scientists and we’re delighted to be supporting this event.”

Andy Iredale, Director for Stakeholder Engagement at Blackpool and The Fylde College, said: “We’re extremely proud to be hosting the Young Engineers competition for the seventh year, as producing skilled workers for industry is something we are renowned for at B&FC.

“It was great to see last year’s winning students working on the equipment which was bought with the prize money and our engineering team is already working hard on finalising next year’s challenge. Good luck to everyone who enters.”

Details of the 2019 task ahead for the students are being closely guarded. The competition will once again be a ‘blind’ challenge and full details only revealed to the students at the qualifying event at Blackpool and The Fylde College on March 1st in the Advanced Technology Centre.

The most successful schools will be invited back to take part in the final on March 29th when one school will walk away with the £10,000 prize.

In addition to the main £10,000 competition, another element of the challenge is the STEM Champions competition, where students have the opportunity to showcase their Stem Club activities to a panel of judges, with £2,000 in prize money up for grabs. This will take place at Blackpool and The Fylde College on Friday January 25.