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Budding Plymouth engineers step aboard HMS Montrose

7 November 2017
Students from University Technical College (UTC) Plymouth, mentored by the Royal Navy and Babcock in a national engineering competition, have stepped aboard HMS Montrose as work gets underway on their project.

The group, who visited the Type 23 frigate alongside at Devonport Naval Base, have been tasked to produce a device to conduct visual inspections of unlit and enclosed areas within the gas turbine engine uptakes on board warships.

The UTC team are among a number of schools across Devon and Cornwall who are taking part in the Engineering Education Scheme (EES), which runs in England and Scotland. 

The scheme, launched recently at HMS Raleigh, links teams of Year 12 students and their teacher with local companies to work on real, scientific, engineering and technological problems.

Working in teams of between four and six people, each group will have six months to complete the task set for them by their sponsoring company. Two of the teams this year are being sponsored by the Royal Navy.

I believe it is a great way to get students involved with industrial STEM issues and provide them with an insight into the role of an engineer

Lieutenant Commander Neil Sandle, lead mentor for the UTC team

Lieutenant Commander Neil Sandle, who works at the Naval Base in Devonport, is the lead mentor for the UTC team. He joined the Royal Navy in 1990 as a Marine Engineering Officer, directly from sixth form.

Lt Cdr Sandle said, “I volunteered to become involved with the EES as I believe it is a great way to get students involved with industrial STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) issues and provide them with an insight into the role of an engineer. 

“I’ve not been a mentor before, but I’m really looking forward to see how the students respond to the challenges we set them. From this initial visit to HMS Montrose we now plan on visiting UTC every two weeks to see how the project design and manufacture is progressing, and provide the students with on-going advice and guidance.”

Lieutenant Paul Armstrong has been paired with a team from Tor Bridge High. He originally joined the Royal Navy in 1991 as an Artificer Apprentice and was selected as a weapons engineering specialist.

He completed a four-year apprenticeship with the Royal Navy and rose through to the ranks to Warrant Officer First Class before being selected to join the Officer Corps. He completed his training at Britannia Royal Naval College in 2012 and is now the Platform Manager for HMS Montrose based at Devonport Naval Base.

The schools taking part this year also include Devonport High School for Boys, Coombe Dean School, Ilfracombe Academy and Tavistock College, who were the winners of last year’s regional heat for a second year. 

Around 65 students visited HMS Raleigh for the launch where they were introduced to the requirements of the EES and took part in some practical team-working challenges similar to those undertaking by the Royal Navy’s new recruits.

The scheme, run by the Engineering Development Trust (EDT), provides students with an in-depth experience in the subject area, enabling them to make an informed decision about their future studies and career. 

The charity delivers over 30,000 STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) experiences each year, for young people age 11-21 across the UK. The scheme

The Royal Navy are among the organisations offering a range of career opportunities in engineering and other technical areas, including accelerated apprenticeship schemes.

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