Scottish recruitment specialist the Brightwork Group is backing a group of young Scots schoolchildren as they reach for one of the most exciting challenges in modern engineering.
The Glasgow- and Edinburgh-based company is sponsoring a team from Woodfarm High School in East Renfrewshire as it steps up to the plate in the 4×4 in Schools Technology Challenge.
The challenge involves four to six team members working together to design and build a radio controlled 4-wheel-drive (4×4) vehicle, to set specifications, which can successfully negotiate a specially designed test track that emulates real life and what a full scale 4×4 vehicle can do.
The challenge is an excellent opportunity for young people to work in teams and gain an awareness and understanding of project management using key skills.
Shan Saba, director at Brightwork Specialist Recruitment, said: “We are delighted to be able to support the Woodfarm team in this year’s Challenge. It is an excellent way of developing the engineering skills which will be so important to the country’s future.”
The Woodfarm team, managed by fifth-year pupil Sean Gaffney, has form in the competition. It won the best rookie title in the Scottish Regional heats in 2014 and came 14th out of 26 in the national finals at the Land Rover Research and Development centre in Warwickshire.
It is now going for the National Finals again in Warwickshire in April 2015 and, with a fair wind, will be hoping to take part in the international finals at a date yet to be announced.
Sean (16), from Thornliebank, said: “Last year we were rookies, but this year we are competing in the ‘professional class’, so we are having to take things to a whole new level. This time we need to design a new chassis and gearbox plus an engine and drive system. Nothing is allowed to be off-the-shelf, so we are using laser cutters to design parts and 3D printer for printing car body.”
The Woodfarm team will take part in the regional final in Fife College in Kirkcaldy on January 29th, working to very strict guidelines. For instance, the car currently weighs 2kg and the maximum allowed is 1.8kg, so it will need to be stripped back.
Five boys and one girl from Woodfarm will take part in the competition under the guidance of Dr Simon Hadfield, the head of the science faculty at Woodfarm, and with help from adult consultants with experience in systems firm Thales and Scottish shipyards.
Sean, who is considering a career in mechanical engineering as a result of having participated in the project, said: “Engineers are at the root of the achievements of the modern world and challenges such as this will inspire more schoolchildren to view engineering as a worthwhile, productive and sustainable career.”