Cookstown High School Young Innovators won the coveted ‘Inspired Work’ Award at the National Fair for Young Scientists and Engineers at the NEC, Birmingham last week.
The award was sponsored by BAE Systems – one of the world’s most advanced technology-led defence, aerospace and security solutions companies.
Cookstown High School pupils TJ Lindsay, Simon Paine, Jack Scott and Roan Anderson have returned home jubilant from the UK Young Scientists and Engineers Competition having been recognised with a prestigious company sponsored special prize.
Over the last two years the pupils at Cookstown High School have worked with both Queen’s University Belfast and local firm, CDE Global to refine their design for a weather station powered by solar power and a wind turbine to be located on Slieve Gallion.
The BAE Systems Inspired Work Prize recognised the project for demonstrating the key qualities of motivation, influence, partnerships, communication and trust. As part of the award the four Cookstown High School pupils will get to spend a day with BAE Systems to get a closer look at the work they do.
The project is called ‘Piview Alternative Energy’ and originated with an idea for a conventional wind turbine driven by battery power but due to the remote location the pupils at Cookstown High School felt that the option of solar power would be better. TJ Lindsay says “We struggled with the original idea mainly because we couldn’t keep the battery running the turbine sufficiently charged to ensure it continued to work effectively. It was at this point that we started considering alternative power sources and the solar power idea was suggested.”
Following this the team worked with Queen’s University to build their own solar panels. After this the team approached local company CDE Global to discuss any assistance that their engineering team could give to the wind turbine design. “We’ve been a supporter of the Young Innovators project at Cookstown High School for some time now and were delighted to get the opportunity to work with them on this project” explains Claire Colvin, Director of Talent & Organisational Development at CDE.
The innovative vertical wind turbine design was initially modelled and tested through the use of 3D printed models and now has been manufactured to scale as a fully working wind turbine.
A team of four CDE engineers worked with the Cookstown High School pupils over the last 4 months to design and manufacture the pilot model that was taken to Birmingham for the Big Bang Fair last week. Michael Travers, Product Development Engineer with CDE was part of the team and explains the work they did.
“The pupils and Mr Johnston had some really good ideas for the wind turbine and had done extensive research that now needed some refinement. Over the course of the last four months we’ve worked on the design with the Young Innovators team and are obviously delighted that their visit to the Big Bang Fair has been a successful one. It’s testament to the work being done at Cookstown High School and other schools to promote the STEM subjects and show the potential that a career in engineering offers.”
Judging at the competition was very rigorous with a total of 10 judges visiting the stand and interviewing the team during the first morning of the event. The team were highly commended by all who visited the stand including visitors from Rolls Royce, JCB and many of the UK’s largest renewable energy companies.
Commenting on the partnership Mr Robert Johnston of Cookstown High School said “The partnerships formed with CDE through this project enabled the pupils to gain access to the expertise of engineers from the company. Engineers from both mechanical and electrical backgrounds attended after school project workshops since October and provided an insight into design and manufacture for real world applications. This has not only contributed to the winning of this award but has provided our pupils with experience in every stage of a successful product design experience – from initial concepts, through testing, prototyping and manufacturing. It has been a valuable lesson in the power of collaboration with industry to advance the personal development of our young people.”
The UK Young Scientists and Engineers Competition is held as part of the Big Bang Fair at the NEC Birmingham which attracted over 75,000 visitors this year. The competition aims to recognise and reward young people’s achievements in all areas of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) and provide them with the opportunity to build their skills and confidence in project-based work.
Mr Forrest who accompanied the team to the finals said “the boys were both a credit to themselves and to the school.”