Plymouth pupils compete in national STEM Challenge

A nationwide initiative aimed to encourage UK secondary school pupils to consider a career in the subsea industry will take place in Plymouth this week (3 December).

The STEM Challenge, led by industry body Subsea UK, and supported by The Smallpiece Trust, National Oceanography Centre and the Glasgow Science Centre, will see 10 teams of second year students from across the UK compete in a subsea design challenge.

Sponsored by SAAB, Fugro, SMD, Subsea 7 and Weir, regional heats will also take place in Newcastle, Glasgow, Southampton and Sheffield over the coming weeks.

Overall 60 pupils from across Plymouth will be tasked to design, build and market an ROV using Lego Mindstorms EV3 kit, an integrated platform that enables the development of programmable robots using Lego building blocks. A smart brick computer operates the system, including modular sensors and motors, with Lego Technic sections to construct the automated systems.

The winning school will secure a place in the final challenge, which is set to take place in March 2019 at Subsea 7’s facility in Aberdeen.

Trish Banks, operations manager of Subsea UK, said: “Following the success of the first STEM Challenge earlier this year, we are excited to hit the road again, with new schools and regions competing. The event highlights why STEM is a crucial component of modern life and encourage school pupils to consider a career in the engineering and subsea sectors. “As the perception of STEM in schools is gradually changing, initiatives like this give students the opportunity to gain practical, hands-on experience, whilst offering a valuable insight into the industry.”

Kevin Stenson, chief executive of The Smallpeice Trust and Arkwright Engineering Scholarships, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Subsea UK again to offer students an exciting taster into the world of subsea engineering. During this Year of Engineering 2018 there’s never been a more important time to offer young people a positive experience of the profession so hopefully these days will do just that.”

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