Technology is a breeze

Students from Dyke House School competed to make a working model of a wind turbine. Pictured, from left, are: student Sam Hutchinson, judges Bethany Suthern (CORRECT) from the Hartlepool College of Further Education and Josh Slater from EDF Energy, and students Sophie Groom and Georgia Redman.

Students from Dyke House School competed to make a working model of a wind turbine. Pictured, from left, are: student Sam Hutchinson, judges Bethany Suthern (CORRECT) from the Hartlepool College of Further Education and Josh Slater from EDF Energy, and students Sophie Groom and Georgia Redman.

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A CLASSROOM challenge proved a breeze for 200 hundred students who showed off their design skills.

Pupils aged 14 and 15 tackled the Year 10 Technology and Engineering project at Dyke House Sports & Technology College, in Hartlepool.

Their task was to build a platform for a wind turbine.

They had to do it armed with paper, sticking tape and glue and got a well-deserved helping hand from representatives from local industry.

But the challenge was more than just a chance to display some ingenuity.

Sue Sheldrick, the college’s careers manager, explained: “It is also about promoting careers and whetting the appetite of the students to consider industry as a career.”

The annual challenge is supported by Hartlepool College of Further Education.

This year’s event was led by engineers from local companies such as EDF Energy, NAREC (National Renewable Energy Centre) and Tadea (Sustainable Energy Specialists).

Sue added: “EDF Energy is particularly supportive and donates money too, which is used to provide calculators to the members of the winning teams.”

Students worked in groups of three and had just over 90 minutes to firstly design and then make a wind turbine platform using limited materials.

To prepare for the task, the Year 10 teenagers used maths lessons to learn how to calculate angles and prepare costing sheets.

Help was on hand during the event as engineering apprentices from Hartlepool College of Further Education and EDF Energy were there to offer advice and guidance.

Students were awarded points according to how good their initial design is, how much it cost to make, their craftsmanship, how well they have worked as a group and whether their finished design can support the weight of the wind turbine.

But Sue stressed: “While it is a competition, the main aim is to raise awareness of and promote an interest in careers in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) sectors.