From education to employment

Engineering Project Day at Havant & South Downs College

The next generation of engineers showcased their work to employers at Engineering Project Day at Havant & South Downs College.

The day gives students a chance to present their projects after 26 weeks of hard work, which has included concept, technical specification, design, prototype, manufacture, test, evaluation and finally a presentation.

It also gives students the opportunity to be seen by potential employers and discuss with them how they created their project.

Projects that were showcased on 2 May included a prosthetic composite leg, a three-cylinder air engine, a table top pool table and a music reactive infinity mirror.

Speaking about his project, Level 3 student Jack Merry said: “My project is to fill a gap in the market for cheap anti-tank weapons. At the moment the cheapest on the market is £20,000 and has to be disposed of after ten uses.

“The idea behind this is that it is one use and £350 to manufacture, it is driven towards the enemy tank and when it reaches its destination it blows itself up and all of the enemy vehicles as well.

“It’s been a lot of hard work, but I’ve really enjoyed the process of making it. I have been really looking forward to showing my work to future employers – it feels like after 26 weeks it’s all come down to this day!

“I am hoping to secure an apprenticeship today, it’s great we hold days like this so students can be opened up to the real world. These kind of projects are what employers will expect from us in the workplace, so it’s been a really beneficial experience.”

Level 3 student Harry Bolton created his project by drawing inspiration from his love of mountain biking and sports cars.

He said: “I have made a bike rack for sports cars and I have designed it so it will fit on almost every sports car. I am really into my mountain biking and sports cars but the problem with bike racks is that it slows your car down and ruins your fuel economy, so I wanted to design something that made the bike rack better.

“I also decided to do this because I am going to study motorsport engineering at Coventry University, so I wanted to incorporate what I do now to what I want to do.”

Karla Wilson, who is currently on an apprenticeship with HSDC and Gestamp, a company which designs and develops metal automotive components, said: “I have created a PLC run conveyor system with plungers that push components off of the conveyor into the right bins so it sorts them.

“I am a third-year apprentice at the moment with Gestamp. I am hoping to get my face out there today and showcase what I can do. I personally think an apprenticeship is the best route into this industry because it really gives you the knowledge and support you need.”

A number of local employers attended the event, included Saab Seaeye, BAE, the University of Portsmouth and Babcock.

Richard Williams from Turbocam UK said: “Today is a great opportunity for students who are looking for employment – employers are able to see the students’ skill level and hear what they have been up to over the past 26 weeks and see if it matches the needs of their business. That’s the primary reason we have come here today.

“This is the first year in about three or four years we haven’t had an apprentice doing a project. Having an apprentice is very beneficial to a business – you realise you want to pass your knowledge on, and you also need a student to have basic understanding of engineering and the College definitely provides that.”

Rod Gammon from Christie Intruder Alarms said: “We do our own Apprenticeship schemes, so I am looking to recruit someone suitable and experienced to bring into the business. It’s been great to chat to them and see what level they are at.

“I’ve been having a look at the projects and they are all really good – very impressive. We’re a local company so we want to get local people in. I am definitely looking for someone who knows what they’re talking about and has the forward-thinking mindset that our company has.”

Principal and CEO of HSDC, Mike Gaston, said: “I am delighted to see so many employers join us for Engineering Project Day.

“The projects on show demonstrate the incredible skills developed by students from concept to design and problem-solving to testing and presentation. These students are your present apprentices and future employees. 

“Engineering graduates make up about 25% of this country’s production workforce. I’m proud that we continue to play a part in partnership with yourselves to ensure the supply of engineers for the 21st Century. 

“The students have really impressed me with the work they have presented today. The skill that has gone into the past 26 weeks is clear from the projects they are showcasing.”

Related Articles