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Degree apprentices qualify for finals of the Engineering for People Design Challenge

Two teams representing Gloucestershire College and the University of the West of England have reached the finals of the prestigious, annual Engineers Without Borders’ Engineering for People Design Challenge competition.

Both teams will pitch their ideas to an expert panel of judges, competing against 35 teams from across the UK and Ireland, at the Grand Finals event in London next month.

Each year, the Engineering for People Design Challenge encourages university-level learners to broaden their awareness of the social, environmental and economic implications of their engineering solutions, in response to a real-world problem. The engineering briefs span everything from water and sanitation, energy and the built environment, to transport, waste management, information communications technology and local industry.

This year, GC’s apprentices were tasked to research the most crucial needs of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait islanders in Cape York, Australia.

Team A focused on food storage challenges in this harsh area of the country, and designed a sustainable fridge powered by a combination of a water wheel and solar panels and made from repurposed and cleaned oil drums often found as litter on the beaches of Cape York. The fridge aims to improve the quality of life for islanders as it can keep food cool, fresh and safe throughout the year.   

Team B looked into supporting one of the key groups of people responsible for the maintenance of the infrastructure and the landscape in the area – The Rangers of Cape York. The team designed ICARUS: utility stations and an innovative water-reclaimer system with the aim of reducing the overall carbon footprint of the rangers, while allowing them to have fully equipped stations to aid their day-to-day duties. 

Both projects received positive feedback from a judging panel of over 220 skilled professionals from 35 countries, who volunteered to support the review process.

“I am very proud of what our apprentices have achieved in the Engineering for People Design Challenge competition,-  said Vincent Seow, Lecturer in Engineering at GC and the teams’ Project Curator.  “Both teams have demonstrated strong technical knowledge, as well as innovation, leadership and project management skills. It is going to be a fantastic experience for them to present their design solutions to expert judges in the Grand Final.”

GC’s Engineering degree apprenticeships are delivered jointly by Gloucestershire College and the University of the West of England, to train the talent of tomorrow in partnership with Gloucestershire’s best engineering and manufacturing companies.

The apprentices in the running for the finals include those working for Renishaw, Spirax-Sarco, Dowty Propellers and UK Atomic Energy Authority.

To learn more about engineering apprenticeship programmes at GC, click here or contact the Employer Training & Apprenticeships team.

To learn more about the Engineering for People Design Challenge, click here.


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