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Newcastle pupils set ultimate subsea STEM challenge


Mar 16, 2018

Secondary pupils from across North-east England will be set the ultimate STEM challenge today (28th March) when they take part in a new initiative aimed at encouraging school pupils to consider a career at sea.

The STEM Challenge, led by industry body Subsea UK and supported by The Smallpeice Trust, will see teams of year nine students compete in a design-and-make challenge for the marine industries.

Taking place at Newcastle University, pupils will also learn about the career opportunities within the subsea sectors; offshore wind, wave energy, tidal power, subsea mining, oil and gas, defence, ocean science and, marine engineering.

Sponsored by Saab and SMD, the regional competitions kicked off last month at Falmouth Marine School with further events due to take place in Newcastle and Sutton.

Schools will compete to design and build an ROV using Lego Mindstorms, a platform produced by Lego to develop programmable robots based on Lego building blocks. Each version of the system includes an intelligent brick computer that controls the system, a set of modular sensors and motors, and Lego parts from the Technic line to create the mechanical systems.

The winning team from each regional event will receive a Think Kit from The Smallpeice Trust, with all the tools needed to run an in-school challenge and build a floating wind turbine. They will travel to Aberdeen, the Global Centre of Excellence for Subsea, for a morning of company visits before the Subsea UK STEM Challenge concludes with the final competition. Each team will have the opportunity to prove their model in a test tank and deliver a short presentation to a judging panel before the overall winner is announced.

Trish Banks, operations manager of Subsea UK said: “The aim of this event is to inspire the young to be part of our industry. The competition is a way of igniting a passion for engineering and it’s great to have schools involved all across the country.

“The students will be given an overview of how STEM impacts everyday life and have the opportunity to hear directly from young representatives from the subsea industry. We want to build engagement from right across the sector so I’d encourage companies to get involved and help us inspire the next generation.”

Kevin Stenson, chief executive of The Smallpeice Trust and Arkwright Engineering Scholarships, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Subsea UK to offer students an exciting taster into the world of subsea engineering. During this Year of Engineering 2018 there’s never been a more important time to offer young people a positive experience of the profession so hopefully these days will do just that.”

Subsea UK members are invited to participate by sending their young people along to the regional competitions and also sponsoring the STEM Challenge. For more information, contact: events@subseauk.com.

By Emily