Empowering future innovators: Work experience students soar to new heights with glider project

01 August 2023

  • Work experience students embark on an engineering adventure, harnessing STEM education and collaboration to design, make and test an innovative glider.
  • Students gain hands-on experience in high value manufacturing setting with access to industry experts in a beyond state-of-the-art environment.
  • NCC values STEM education, inspiring future engineers and helping to shape the careers of young creators, thinkers, and problem solvers.

The National Composites Centre (NCC) is celebrating the achievements of a group of talented work experience students who recently embarked on an engineering adventure within its facility in Bristol.

A mixture of classroom- and workshop-based activities provided the 15- and 16-year-olds practical skills and insights into the potential pathways into the exciting world of engineering. Over the course of five days, the group of Key Stage 4 students were encouraged to harness the power of STEM education and collaboration to create an innovative composite glider. The carefully curated hands-on work included aspects of planning and design with digital engineering, through to materials, manufacturing, verification, and lookback learnings.

In addition to shadowing industry experts, students had the opportunity to participate in CV workshops, network with various teams across the NCC, and hear from guest speakers from Bristol Racing to give them a better appreciation of future career pathways and useful tips for starting their careers.

The culminating composite glider competition served as a platform to develop students’ teamwork, problem solving and creativity skills. The students used these skills to navigate the challenges that came their way, overcoming them and pushing the boundaries of what they thought was possible.

The NCC takes immense pride in cultivating an environment where the students are not only developing their technical skills, but also embracing the value of curiosity, critical thinking and adaptability. With access to new tools and technologies, each participant gained practical experience of the working environment that aims to enable them to thrive in the world of innovation.

Matthew Smith, Associate Technology Project Lead and STEM Ambassador at the NCC commented:

“Direct feedback from the students has been encouraging, with many indicating a renewed interest in considering a future in engineering. From aerospace to automotive design, it’s clear that the work experience week has given students a clearer idea of where they would like to work, the potential next steps towards becoming an engineer, and what kind of work they would likely enjoy.”

The National Composites Centre holds STEM education in the highest regard, as it inspires future engineers and drives technological advancements. These talented students epitomise the spirit of innovation, showing the potential that lies in the next generation of creators, thinkers, and problem solvers.

As the NCC looks to the future, it remains dedicated to championing STEM education, nurturing talent and the power of innovation. The work experience students are the embodiment of this commitment, and their accomplishments over the course of their week in Bristol serve as a shining example of the bright future ahead.


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