Skip to main content

Next generation of engineers encouraged through Harper Adams' secondary school challenge

Posted 13 October

“At Harper Adams, we’re always working to develop the next generation of engineers – so events like this, which help inspire young people to consider engineering in new and challenging ways, are an ideal fit for us.”

One of the participants in the event working on their design during the challenge. A shot of a pupil designing a digger arm at a desk at Harper Adams.

A series of sessions aimed at developing the next generation of engineers among current secondary school pupils have been held at Harper Adams University.

The sessions were held in collaboration with the Staffordshire-based JCB Academy – which aims to develop skills related to business and engineering as part of the development of its pupils.

More than 150 students took part in a three-day residential programme, which included business and sport sessions as well as an engineering design challenge which was hosted by six lecturers from Harper Adams’ Engineering team.

The challenge saw students receive an introductory lecture on the loading of framework structures which set the basis for their challenge.

They were then taken to see some of the concepts they had just been introduced to put to the test in Harper Adams’ unique Soil Hall using a digger, showcasing the backhoe and strain measurements. The hall contains a covered field used for research and student projects, and is the largest demonstration area of its kind in the UK.

From this, the teams were challenged to build a digger arm or boom using just straws and hot glue – before having their designs put to the test as weights were applied to see how well each held up.

The winning team received their awards at a special ceremony at the end of the event.

The ‘Best Team Overall’ consisted of a trio from Royce House, Hasan Aslam, Jack Gorman and Tristan Palmer. The runners-up for ‘Best Team Overall’ also came from Royce House.

Lead Practitioner for Engineering at JCB Academy, Steve Fergusson, said: “This is the second time I've come on this residential event, and it's always so interesting to experience living in the halls of residence and having a taste of university lectures.

“The students here have come to our Academy from schools all over the county and this was their first week starting with us, so it was a great ice breaker. I was amazed at how well the activities helped them to bond.”

And Harper Adams University Widening Participation Officer, Rachel Brookes, added: “It was marvellous to welcome the pupils from the JCB Academy to campus – and to be able to show them some of the cutting-edge facilities we have on site.

“At Harper Adams, we’re always working to develop the next generation of engineers – so events like this, which help inspire young people to consider engineering in new and challenging ways, are an ideal fit for us.”

If you're interested in Engineering - whether Mechanical, Automotive or Agricultural - and want to find out more about Harper Adams' award-winning facilities yourself, sign up for our in-person Open Day on November 13.

Cookies on the Harper Adams University website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the website. However, you can change your cookie settings at any time.