The Academy of St Nicholas inspires a future generation of engineers

The Academy of St Nicholas, Garston, recently partnered with the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) in a bid to encourage students to explore the different careers paths in engineering. 

The Faraday Challenge, set by the IET, is an annual competition of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) activity days for Year 8 students and sets them real-world challenges. 

Students were given a challenge to support a world-class scientific, technology development and manufacturing scale-up capability for batteries in the UK. The challenge was focused on developing cost-effective, high-performance, durable, safe and recyclable batteries to capture a growing market.   

It gave students the opportunity to research, design and make prototype solutions to tough engineering problems, giving students the opportunity to experience working as an engineer for a day.  

One student said: “I really enjoyed the experience and how we got to mix with people we might not always work with. It also depended on us sharing opinions and ideas as a group and working as one. I liked how they made it interesting and for a good cause. It also taught us how to work with money and budgets, overall, it was so fun, and I would love to do it again!!” 

Every single participant completed the day and received an IET certificate, with one team winning £60 and a challenge day trophy, which is now displayed in the academy’s trophy cabinet. 

Miss Bell, head of design and technology at The Academy of St Nicholas, is keen for students to pursue careers in engineering. Miss Bell recruited 18 girls and 18 boys from the Year 8 cohort to take part. 

She said: “The IET offers students the chance to explore careers in engineering in a fun and engaging way. The challenges so far have been well received and they are looking forward to the next ones. 

“As an academy, it is important that we encourage more girls into STEM and the Faraday Challenges are a great way of doing this as students are encouraged to use their existing knowledge of electrical circuits and forces, develop their design and construction skills and integrate their learning in science, technology and maths.” 

Headteacher, Mrs Sing, added: “We are one of few schools in Merseyside to be taking part in the Faraday Challenges this year and I have every faith that we will go very far in the competition and put The Academy of St Nicholas on the map!” 

The top teams from across the UK get an all-expenses paid trip to the national final to compete for a cash prize of up to £1,000 for their school. 

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