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A Smallpeice of Engineering

‘I arrived at Nottingham University at around 9:00am after a long two-hour journey. I was greeted by a dynamic lady from Smallpeice who set me up with a welcome pack for my three day stay. I was given my room key and half an hour to settle into my room and unpack. The room I stayed in was reasonably spacious with a sink and a large window overlooking the hall’s garden. It felt as if I was a student at university!

Once unpacked, I made my way downstairs to a presentation which gave me a chance to meet the five members of my team with whom I would be working over the next few days.

After the presentations, which were given by four different companies; Rolls Royce, First Group, Transport for London and Smallpeice, we were shown the way to our first project room. We worked with Smallpeice to create a new and different speaker prototype. This was very enjoyable because we not only had to solder and make the speaker, but also advertise it and explain our business approach to all the other groups.

That evening we had dinner before watching a film of our choice and making our way up to the rooms at around ten o’clock.

To start the second day, we applied the finishing touches to our speaker and presented them to the other groups. The design of our speaker was not the best, but our business approach was good. After this we went to start the second project of the course which took place with Transport for London. The first part of the project was to design a bridge that would be able to hold as much weight as possible using a budget of £50million (a piece of wooden dowel costs seven million pounds).

Once we had designed our bridge everyone went to have lunch before heading off on a tour of Nottingham University’s Engineering Department. This consisted of a tour of the campus, a lecture on discovering possible landing sites on Mars, an investigation into filtering a beaker of red dye with natural resources to make it clean (this fitted into the current science topic of filtration very well) before rounding off with a talk from the Women's Engineering Society member, Helen Cavill.

Once we were back from our tour, everyone who was at the course sat down to a three-course formal dinner before finishing off the day with a disco.

In the morning, we continued working with Transport for London and won first prize for the bridge we made which held 1.8kg of weight! After this project, we were presented with a board game. The objective of this was to build a high-speed rail network across Britain with the most profit possible. Our group also won this for our second victory of the day, until we were given our final task. The last task of the course was aimed on the Emirate’s cable car. We were asked to design a safe and effective cable car. We sadly lost this because our cable car stopped when we started the round!

At the end of my three-day trip, we had a closing speech by Smallpeice and the other companies before saying our goodbyes and making our way outside to meet our parents once more. I have benefited from this trip in many ways, both educationally and socially. It has shown me what life as an engineer is like and how many different possibilities are open to me in the future and I am looking forward to my next trip.'

Theo Serjeant, (Second Form, Swift)

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