UWTSD partnership inspires the next generation of engineers and scientists


A unique partnership between UWTSD, A-Level students, the Engineering Education Scheme Wales (EESW) and local businesses is helping to inspire the next generation of engineers and scientists.

The ‘Big Bang’ is the largest annual event scheme in South Wales for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) where professional engineers from link companies work with a team of Year 12 students and their teacher for 5-6 months on a real engineering problem.

The scheme continues to reap rewards with Bishop Vaughan sixth formers becoming the latest students to win a top engineering and science award for designing a glass bottle sorting device.

The team of eight pupils competed against 75 other teams from across South Wales, and won the “Best Application of Engineering and Technology” award, and were also nominated for “Best Working Prototype” at the Engineering Education Scheme for Wales linked with STEM.

Their award was presented to them by Mr R Cater from the Institution of Engineering and Technology.

GlassTech, a local recycling company based in Neath, challenged the students to create a device to recognise different coloured glass bottles and then sort them to relevant containers, working with UWTSD, the team used everyday technology to solve the problem in the form of a Web Cam.

The team had to prepare a technical report and present their solution to senior engineers and academics at the ‘Big Bang’ awards day.

Their solution and display for the working model gathered a lot of interest especially from Carwyn Jones AM.

The students; Phoebe Hughes, Morgan Thomas, Keefe Montebon, Joseph Robinson, Rhys Brannan, Baptin Syriac, Joel Baiju and Eloisa Maristela have also been awarded the Gold Crest award, for their hard work and excellent technical report,  receiving extra 70 UCAS entry points for getting into university.

Student Keefe Montebon said: “It was such an amazing experience and it has inspired us all to go on to higher education and achieve even more.”

Pam Berry – EESW West Wales Coordinator said: “The team worked incredibly hard and received excellent support from UWTSD lecturers Richard Morgan and Dr. Arnaud Marotin. UWTSD has been an excellent supporter of EESW, hosting workshops to enable students to develop prototypes.”

Karen John from Glass Tech added:  “These are a remarkable group of youngsters and engineers of the future. I am absolutely impressed at how professional they are. I would love to invite the students, their teacher and the UWTSD lecturers to Glass Tech to see the industrial process and commercial tonnage and issues glass recycling face. I am sure one of these bright sparks will come up with a solution.”

Bishop Vaughan Comprehensive teacher Andrew Smith said: “From a teacher’s point of view – teaching in a very practical way on a very precise and tangible aim enabled pupils to learn quicker and to have a greater interest. The students had to learn both electronics and software (MatLab) and design (CAD). They did an amazing job and impressed us all.”

GOWER College students have also been involved in the multi-partnership scheme, which has seen them equipped with the skills necessary to apply for apprenticeships.

The team used a pneumatics design to create a semi-automatic production line with an aim to save labour costs. They utilised two cylinders to move the production line into four positions. The team’s future developments would be to make the production line fully automatic using two sensors, one ferrous sensor to identify iron in the material, and the other an optical sensor to identify size.

Mark Row, Gower College Mechanical Engineering Lecturer said: “The students have gained a lot from being in a different environment and from a different way of learning. They have all applied for engineering apprenticeships. Many were directed towards self-study and enjoyed the practical application.”

“UWTSD provided a facility that was invaluable for the team to make the prototype. They used CAD, the mechanical workshop for measurement and inspection, and they had demonstrations from staff on using Computer Aided Design and Manufacturing equipment. The technical support and change of environment gave them insight into what Higher Education is all about.

UWTSD lecturer Richard Morgan said working with the teams from Bishop Vaughan Comprehensive School and Gower College Swansea, alongside fellow lecturer Dr Arnaud Marotin, had been as been a positive and rewarding experience this year.

“The teams have demonstrated exceptional levels of commitment and professionalism and have had exposure to some of the excellent facilities and resources on offer within the Engineering department at UWTSD,” he said

“The fantastic achievements at the recent Engineering Education Scheme Wales competition are a testament to the first-rate efforts of the team members and the support and encouragement provided by staff at the school and the college.”

“Both Arnaud and I have been delighted with the way in which these industrially focussed projects have strengthened the links between schools, colleges and the university. Engineering graduates are in high demand and it’s reassuring to see such enthusiasm and talent. We are sure that we have been witnessing some of ‘tomorrow’s engineers’ in action.”

Gower College student Tom Hopkins said: “I love engineering and making things and the workshops at UWTSD have strengthened my skills. I now I have an apprenticeship at TATA steel.”

Kai Pickman added: “It was good to use the machines at UWTSD to gain mechanical engineering experience.”

Dan Hawkins said: “Coming to UWTSD on a Thursday has been a good experience, especially working with the machines. The staff were really helpful and I enjoyed learning from them.”

If you have an interest in engineering, every September UWTSD also host a three day residential engineering and design event called ‘Head Start’, at our Swansea Campus for Year 12 and 13 students. Participants have the opportunity to experience university life while working on exciting challenges using a range of industry level facilities and equipment at the university.

To get involved please visit admin@eesw.net

Note to Editor

The Engineering Education Scheme Wales (EESW) is a non-profit, educational charity which has been in existence since 1989. EESW run schemes across Wales to inspire and motivate young people to choose a career in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

In July 2010, the organisation received funding from the European Social Fund through the Welsh Government to develop and extend its activities through the STEM Cymru project within the Convergence areas of Wales. EESW and the STEM Cymru project encompass the Engineering Education Scheme Wales, i2E, Go4SET, Headstart Cymru, the Year in Industry, F1 in Schools and Girls into Engineering. The centre at Waterton, where EESW is based, is also the Wales National Education Centre for the Bloodhound SSC project.

EESW works in partnership with Tomorrow’s Engineers to provide STEM activities to the primary school sector in Wales and to promote Tomorrow’s Engineers career materials.


Further Information

Rebecca Davies

Executive Press and Media Relations Officer

Corporate Communications and PR
Mobile: 07872 423 788
Email: Rebecca.Davies@uwtsd.ac.uk