A big thank you to Phil Edwards of Weald Technology for the article below.

Weald Technology has worked closely with The Leigh UTC over recent weeks to develop a range of transport-related STEM challenges and workshops and there are more of these to come as we continue developing a mutually beneficial partnership. Having got to know the staff there, we were delighted to be invited to share stand space at the recent London Festival of Design and Engineering.

The Leigh UTC were showcasing their Greenpower car as well as a giving visitors a chance to try coding; have a go at manipulating robot-arms; and displaying a coffee table made by one of the students from a Rover V8 engine block, complete with a small scale 3D-printed prototype. We hoped to have our record-breaking electric motorcycle on the stand too, but sadly the logistics of getting it there didn’t work.

It was a great event, attracting a huge attendance from the public on a very warm day. For Weald Technology it was our first ‘public’ show (we’ve attended lots of school-only events) and it was heartening to see the enthusiasm of the children and their parents, and show them the level and quality of opportunities that are offered in modern education.

We were glad to support Mark Ellis chatting to parents, particularly about The Leigh UTC’s Greenpower car, which is our particular area of expertise. Two things really impressed visitors and demonstrated the college’s emphasis on Computing and Engineering.

Firstly, the extremely lightweight bodywork is a fine example of smart design and manufacturing. Second, The Leigh UTC seemed to be the only school there that had designed and built their own car. The others had purchased a kit which, whilst a quick way to get started, can’t possibly offer the same experience for the students as the DIY route. It may not have been quite so pretty in places, but the students from The Leigh UTC probably have a far greater understanding of how it works. Speaking as a STEM employer, and a designer with over 35 years’ experience, that is very valuable.