The four-day residential course, held at The University of Manchester, and sponsored by the University’s Dalton Nuclear Institute was organised by The Smallpeice Trust, in collaboration with the National Nuclear Laboratory.
During the course, Josh took part in a combination of presentations, workshops, practical ‘design and make’ projects, and a final assessment which involved demonstrating his finished product, complete with design drawings, method statements and risk assessments. A variety of topical subjects were tackled including radiation, the environment, health and safety and the decommissioning of nuclear plants. Masterclasses covering nuclear waste, alternative fission systems and Fukushima were also included.
The design-and-make project challenged Josh and his fellow students to move spent nuclear fuel from a storage facility. It involved the students pitching their idea in a “Dragon’s Den” type scenario in order to gain funding, allowing them to then go out and make their design.
As well as working on the design, build and test elements of the projects, they developed life skills such as teamwork, communication, problem solving, time management, finance and presentation skills. The social programme included a film night, sports activities and culminated in a formal dinner and disco where students and supporting organisations had the opportunity to socialise and share their experiences of the week.
Dr John Roberts from The University of Manchester School of Physics and Astronomy commented, “Working in partnership with The Smallpeice Trust and the National Nuclear Laboratory enables us to provide an introduction into nuclear engineering to Key Stage 4 pupils in a challenging and invigorating way. The students had the chance to attend thought-provoking presentations and demonstrations delivered by University experts and to quiz industry leaders in a special “Question Time” event. It’s been an inspirational four days on campus and the feedback has shown that the students enjoyed the experience enormously!”
Spokesperson for The Smallpeice Trust, Gemma Murphy commented, “We always aim to deliver exciting and innovative courses and it’s very important that we provide a practical element and an insight into industry too. Our continuing partnership with the Dalton Nuclear Institute at The University of Manchester and the National Nuclear Laboratory has enabled us to enthuse the engineers of tomorrow while highlighting the diverse career opportunities in the field of nuclear engineering. This kind of course gives the students a taste of university life and a genuine insight into the real-life challenges faced by engineers in the nuclear sector.”
The Nuclear Engineering course is organised by independent charity, The Smallpeice Trust, and is part of an on-going programme of residential courses to help young people aged 13 to 18 learn and develop skills in engineering, design, technology and manufacturing. Through running residential courses and STEM enrichment days, The Trust has reached out to 20,353 students across the UK in the past year.
The new course timetable for 2014 will be launched in the autumn school term. Places are allocated on a first come, first served basis. To find out more, visit www.smallpeicetrust.org.uk, or telephone The Smallpeice Trust on 01926 333200.
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