Budding Ely College engineers put their energy into wind power

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Ely College students recently got to build and test their own wind turbine models as part of a special scheme aimed at giving them a taste of careers in science and technology.

They also got to learn about a super sonic, jet and rocket fueled racing car that’s being developed with the hope of eventually breaking land speed records.

15293409_10100103662030154_1519199278_oAs part of a series of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) days across all year groups at the college, Year 7 students were challenged to work in teams to design, build and test their own wind turbines.

The thrilling session allowed them to investigate the advantages and disadvantages of wind energy using their design technology, maths, science and engineering skills, as well as a fascinating talk by Mike Ford, engineer on the Bloodhound Super Sonic Car Team.

The Bloodhound SSC’s goal is to develop a jet and rocket powered vehicle that can match or exceed 1000 miles an hour, achieving a new world land speed record.

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The STEM project at Ely College is part of a collaboration between the secondary school and national educational charity the Engineering Development Trust, as well as partners from The Bloodhound Project.

Working together they hope to give students an insight into STEM careers.

Through tasters, projects and placements, Ely College pupils will learn more about local employers and local industry.

Combinations of visits, talks, ‘hands-on’ projects and mentoring by engineers and scientists will allow the young people to see STEM subjects being used in practice and give them a taste of working in these industries.

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Sam Craven, Science Curriculum Leader, said of these STEM partnerships, “Ely College is committed to ensuring that our students are prepared for the world of work, that they understand the careers that can be available for them and, particularly in the case of STEM careers, the skills and qualification they will need.

“We work with organisations like the EDT and The Smallpeice Trust to connect with local industry and provide our young people with opportunities that enable them to apply theory into practical experiences, helping them to understand that working hard during education can lead to a rewarding career further down the line.”

EDT has a proven track record of success, with 30,000 young people being reached across the UK annually through their programmes. Students who have taken part have then gone on to experience success in STEM-related industries and beyond.

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EDT education officer Michelle James, who led the session, praised the behaviour of Ely College students, saying they had got behind the project and asked challenging questions about future energy sources.

“We are delighted to be working with Ely College in providing their students with the opportunity to participate in activities that will raise their awareness of STEM careers in local industry.

“It’s important for young people to be aware of the future opportunities available to them whilst they are still in education, so that they can make informed decisions about their study options. Giving them an insight into STEM careers and into local industry at a young age can help to raise aspirations and give them hands-on experiences that will help them throughout their studies and into their future careers.”

Earlier this year, the college joined Cambridge Meridian Academies Trust. CMAT says it has a strong track record in improving achievement and attainment in the region and is committed to improving the quality of education and life in the county of Cambridgeshire.