Bright sparks visit Sultan for engineering masterclass

HMS Sultan welcomed some of the brightest children from across the UK recently for an engineering masterclass with the Royal Navy and The Smallpeice Trust.

The Nuclear Marine Engineering Course saw 50 students take part in a series of practical workshops and lectures provided by staff from the Nuclear Systems Group of the Defence School of Marine Engineering (DSMarE).

In addition, the children also took in tours of the Defence College of Technical Training’s DSMarE and the Royal Naval Air Engineering and Survival Equipment School (RNAESS) to look at simulators, workshops, marine diesel engines, gas turbines and naval aircraft.

The visits were part of a four-day residential course for 13 and 14 year old students aimed at providing an insight into nuclear marine engineering provided by the Royal Navy, Babcock and the educational charity The Smallpeice Trust.

This is kind of the first time that I’ve really engaged with engineering in a practical way beyond building basic lightbulb circuits and there’s been lots of interaction and team work.

Stevie Bearne, 13

Other activities during the week included a challenge with Babcock engineers where students were tasked with making a device for transiting nuclear waste safely without causing harm to the environment, a formal mess dinner within the Wardroom at HMS Excellent and visits to local attractions including Action Stations at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and the Submarine Museum, Gosport.

In addition, the students experienced several nights living onboard HMS Bristol.

The Smallpeice Trust is an engineering charity which aims to inspire young people in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) through offering a mix of STEM days in schools and also residential courses designed to encourage young people to delve into engineering outside of the classroom.

Ashley Rowley, Education Officer for the course said: “Residential courses are normally run within a university campus, but working with the Royal Navy has offered the children the chance to experience a military establishment, staying onboard a ship and to learn from both high level academics and industry professionals within the area that they are most passionate and interested in themselves.”

Amy Clough, 14, said: “I didn’t really know what to expect, but my teacher had recommended I look at the Smallpeice Trust.

“I’ve really enjoyed the course much more than I thought I would, it’s been lots of fun and really educational.

“We recently did a project at school looking at engineering and coming on this course has made me even more enthusiastic about the subject.

“I want to be a computer engineer, working in science and computing and it’s given me a better understanding of how computer engineering is used within submarines and electronics.”

Stevie Bearne, 13, said:  “I came here as I wanted to communicate with more people in my age group who shared an interest in the subject.

“This is kind of the first time that I’ve really engaged with engineering in a practical way beyond building basic lightbulb circuits and there’s been lots of interaction and team work.

“I really like that it’s not just sitting down and watching stuff, but really interactive with the activities getting us to think for ourselves.”