Market News MAN Design & Make Challenge

Editor: Steffen Donath

A school showcased its engineering excellence last week when it won the main prize for ‘Efficient Design’ at the MAN Design & Make Challenge.

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Students getting a first impression of what it means to be an engineer.
Students getting a first impression of what it means to be an engineer.
(Source: MAN)

John Taylor High School beat off the challenge of eight other schools from across the UK to take the title for its hand-crafted vehicle that ran the length of the test track in the fastest time. More than 40 Year 11 pupils and A-Level students swapped their daily lessons to take part in the competition hosted by MAN (Manufacturing Assembly Network), which is funded by nine local SMEs and designed to inspire young people to consider a career in engineering by encouraging them to work together and ‘problem solve’. The four-strong teams were given a box of goodies they could use to build a vehicle, which would be propelled by a pendulum’s impact, ensuring their designs could withstand the ‘strike’ whilst minimising weight. In addition to the main award, there were accolades for ‘Innovative Design’ and ‘Design for Manufacture’ (how easy the vehicle could be made in larger numbers) and these were won by Alcester Grammar and WMG Academy respectively.

Austin Owens, Founder of Grove Design, was the inspiration behind the initiative: “As manufacturers we can’t just sit back and continually reflect on the lack of skills or the number of engineers coming through.There is no better way of inspiring young people to consider a career in our sector than showing them first-hand what we do and how we do it, then getting them to put their own ideas into action. The competition gets really intense and there was a massive buzz in the room when the vehicles came to perform.”

He continued: “One of the major issues we face is recruitment… we need that to change with manufacturers and educators working more collaboratively to increase awareness.”

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The three winning teams each received an Ultimaker 3D Printer for their schools. These were donated by the CREATE Education project, which brings together technology with inspirational content and creative minds. Daisy White, one of the pupils from the award-winning John Taylor High School, commented: “We had a great day, topped off by winning the ‘Efficient Design’ prize and being able to take a 3D Printer back to use in our studies.

Austin concluded: “What was especially pleasing this year was the number of potential female engineers who attended - it was almost double what we saw in 2018 and that bodes well for getting more girls interested in industry.”