Stannah news

UTC Wins Royal Navy Challenge by Achieving Impossible with Stannah’s Support

11.04.16

A team of sixth formers from South Wiltshire University Technical College has triumphed in the Royal Navy’s annual engineering challenge which aims to test problem solving and practical engineering skills – and Stannah were delighted to support them and congratulate them on their achievement.

41 teams including Royal Navy apprentices and UTCs from across the country were asked to design a floating craft to recover vital supplies from a scale mock-up of a stricken Antarctic harbour.  Points were available for each object recovered depending on the awkwardness of their shape and material.  Top points were available for an “impossible” object attached to the sea-bed and designed to resist being nudged, scooped or dragged.

In three years of the competition no-one had ever bagged the impossible object but the UTC’s sixth form team of Daniel Bavister, Charlotte Greenhow, Isobel Beaven and Korban Wigham retrieved it on both runs, to the astonishment of the watching Royal Navy top brass.  The UTC team’s secret was that while others unsuccessfully tried to scoop, hook and grab the object they applied lateral thinking and used a suction device to vacuum it up.

Mike Newman, Learning and Development Manager from joint-sponsor Stannah was amazed at their ingenuity, commenting:

“What a team! What a strategy! It looked like an impossible challenge but our team from UTC excelled themselves and brought home the prize. Their performance ably demonstrated that ‘nothing is impossible’. Congratulations to them all!”

The South Wiltshire UTC team was rewarded with a trophy presented by the head of the Royal Navy, 1st Sea Lord Admiral Sir George Zambellas OBE, and a cash prize that will go into enhancing social facilities for sixth form students at the UTC. 

In the run-up to the competition the team had spent weeks fine-tuning their craft during weekly enrichment sessions and secured vital sponsorship from Stannah and Dstl to allow them to buy kit and equipment.

UTC Principal Gordon Aitken said:

“We are extremely proud of the sixth form team and of our Year 10 team who also reached the national finals.  They showed exactly the skills a successful engineer needs by applying lateral thinking and ingenuity and refusing to accept that a challenge was impossible.  Stannah’s sponsorship allowed them to plan flexibility materials for the craft and that proved to be crucial.”   

The UTC opened in September 2015 with around 200 young scientists and engineers aged 14-19.  It will double in size with a fresh intake this September and will eventually have 600 students aiming for university places and apprenticeships with top local employers.