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CAVC students’ Bright Ideas win them an aero contest

The Year 3 group of BEng Aircraft Engineering students from Cardiff and Vale College swept the board in one category and came second in another in Kingston University’s prestigious Bright Ideas competition.

In the run-up to the final, there were initially 233 teams made up of BEng Aircraft Engineering students from across the UK which was whittled down to 49 across seven categories. The CAVC group split into two teams in different categories.

CAVC Team 1 entered the Comfort Enhancer for Aircraft Armrests (CEAA) category with their alternative design for armrests found in economy seats. They won the People’s Choice prize of £500, the Engineering Category 1 Overall Winners prize of £1,000 for their bright idea and the £250 Social Media prize for their promotional pitch and video.

Meanwhile, CAVC Team 2 competed in the Aircraft Window Solar Power Generator category and won the Second Place prize of £250.

The competition finals took place at Kingston University – a partner university for the College – and the winners were announced in a virtual ceremony which the learners watched with CAVC Principal, Sharon James, at City Centre Campus.

Charlie John was part of the CEAA armrests team. He explained that his team had chosen that category after taking a snapshot survey of students and staff at their International Centre for Aerospace Training (ICAT) campus and economy airline armrests came up as the biggest inconvenience when flying.

“Before starting the Bright Ideas Competition none of the team had really carried out a business style pitch,” Charlie said. “Therefore we all believe that our pitching skills have been improved upon, meaning we would all feel comfortable if we were to do it again.

“Other skills we have all managed to improve include our teamwork and communication skills. To ensure all aspects of the project were detailed sufficiently we all had to work collectively. For Giuseppe and I our leadership skills benefitted from the Bright Ideas Competition. However, with all this being said, there is always room for improvement.”

Charlie added that the team was not expecting a win but had enjoyed the experience and were happy to have taken part.

“On the day of the prize ceremony, we were all sat round watching eagerly to find out how it went,” he said. “At first, we were announced the Social Media award winners which made us all feel good.

“When the runner ups were being announced the tension in the room was unreal. When we didn’t hear our name called out, we maintained a small amount of confidence but were unsure.

“Then the Category First Place winners began to be announced. As each category passed the tension got worse. When the slide with Engineering Category 1 came up on the screen the room went silent.

“Once our name was heard and we found out that we had won the room completely erupted into cheers. One of our lecturers who was present managed to get it on record and it’s brilliant to watch all our nervousness turn into beaming smiles.

“It felt so surreal to us that we won. Once the People’s Choice award was announced the room erupted for a second time because we couldn’t believe what was happening!”

CAVC Principal Sharon James said: “Congratulations to both teams and the staff who’ve supported them – what an amazing achievement! Taking part in skills competitions like this are such an enriching experience for our students as they add a real extra boost and provide valuable understanding of their subject.”

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