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Saturday, 25 October 2014

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Barrow pupils crowned as winners of shipyard challenge

A TEAM of pupils from a Barrow school were crowned winners of an engineering challenge in front of proud families, friends and BAE Systems mentors.

Academy engineering challenge

 The 60-strong crowd at Furness Academy cheered as the winning team who took home a trophy for the best design, build and test of a vessel constructed during an eight week mentoring programme at BAE Systems Submarines.

The mentoring scheme, which is in its fourth year, is run by STEM ambassadors from Submarines.

This year’s programme was offered to Year 8 students who were asked to apply via an online application before being interviewed by BAE mentors. As a result, 16 pupils were invited into the business on Friday afternoons over the course of eight weeks.

Helen Barratt is a Senior Manager within BAE Systems Submarines’ Operations team and is responsible for the deployment of people across the function. She has supported the mentoring scheme since it began four years ago.

She said: “I feel very privileged to be an ambassador and share my experiences to date to try and inspire young people to think about their own future. The students have been really engaged with the scheme and attendance has been excellent – especially given they’ve sacrificed their free time on Friday afternoons.

“The initiative has enabled mentors to ‘open up’ the business gates to a local school and share our fantastic product and facilities with them. The students have gained a greater understanding of BAE Systems in a relaxed and friendly environment, while committing their time and effort to a project and unknowingly gaining team working and communication skills.

”The pupils were divided into teams of four and asked to design, cost to budget, build and test a vessel which would submerge in a body of water, collect sunken treasure and surface again with the treasure. Each team had to assign roles including a designer, accountant, project manager and timekeeper.

The winning team was selected by an independent STEM Ambassador. The teams estimated how much treasure they could lift based on the buoyancy of their vessel and points were awarded on the accuracy of their estimation and also the amount they could lift.

Helen Barratt continued: “As well as the skills they learnt while undertaking the project, the teams were taught presentation skills in groups and on a one-to-one basis and were asked to present in front of the other teams and mentors during the programme.

“From a business point of view, it is essential that we nurture young people’s skills in this way to make them aware of the opportunities on their doorstep and make sure BAE Systems has the resources it needs for the future.”

At last night’s celebration event, Keith Minnican, a senior manager from BAE Systems presented all pupils with a certificate and the winning team named ‘Octoking’ were presented with a specially designed submarine trophy which will be displayed at the school.

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