KMF (Precision Sheet Metal) called on the 18 school teams that are participating in the 2013/14 KMF Young Engineer of the Year Awards to officially put the wheels on their challenge with a Build Day at KMF's Newcastle under Lyme facility.
Each of the 18 teams had their pit for the day and with the help of their sponsors began the process of building their Greenpower electric racing cars. Dressed in their team uniforms the enthusiastic students set to work on the first of two phases of the motor building project to create a rolling chassis.
They will then go on to refine their designs, creating aerodynamic bodywork, adding to and replacing individual components as allowed by the Greenpower rules, before a test day early in 2014.
The 18 teams will then compete against each other on track at Darley Moor race circuit near Chesterfield. Prizes will be awarded by The Gadget Show presenter, Jason Bradbury with awards for The Best Designed Car, Furthest Distance Travelled, Fastest Lap and the ultimate accolade of one student being declared the KMF's Young Engineer of the Year 2013/14.
Each team has 12 members, and all have specific roles within the team that relate in some way to real-life business. This connection to business is enhanced with the support of the school sponsors, which include local companies, such as Wrights Food Group, Sure Retail and Greenway Pepper, along with national and international brands such as Michelin, Trumpf and Amada.
In addition the event is fully supported by the Charity and Educational Trust Greenpower, HSBC, the National Apprenticeship Service, EAL, SEMTA and the North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce.
Speaking at the event Alleynes Academy teacher, Mr Craig Bailey said: "The whole project is inspirational, and the team's enthusiasm has become infectious, and they are getting sixth formers to volunteer as Technology Ambassadors to help them with some of the more challenging aspects of building the car."
'What is also encouraging was the competition for places on the team, especially among the girls, we have four female team members, with one of them already taking up a work experience place with our team sponsor, precision engineering company, MG Sanders."
On a similar note Jerry Watson, a teacher at Painsley Catholic College reports that the entire team is 'buzzing'.
"We participated in the first KMF Young Engineer of the Year event when our students designed and manufactured clocks. However, this project has taken the event to a whole new level, and by introducing the business element it's superb and is certainly helping to raise the profile of engineering within the school,' HE SAID.
"On a personal level, the quality of the project material and the support that is being provided by KMF and our sponsor Greenway Pepper is excellent, so much so that my involvement is limited to simply overseeing things and very little time is required on the part of staff."
Alan Bower who is supporting the students at Moorside High School directs his praise towards KMF and its team of people for organising and driving the event forward.
He commented: "What KMF is doing under the guidance of Gareth Higgins the Managing Director is quite special. There are No other companies that I know of, who are investing anything like the time and support into a project like this. All of our students taking part feel valued and a part of something big and as a result of being involved with this event our sponsor, Sure Retail, has opened up its apprentice training programme."
Gareth Higgins (Managing Director) KMF (Precision Sheet Metal) added: "The original KMF Young Engineer of the Year award was created to generate interest among school-age children to look at engineering and design as a career option, with KMF hopeful that some of them would apply for its coveted apprenticeship scheme."
"Now as the competition grows, we are encouraged by the enthusiasm, not only of the students and teaching staff, but also of the sponsoring companies, who are genuinely interested in working with the schools, and many of which are now talking about, if not actually, employing apprentices."