Earlier this month around 30 MPs, including the Island’s MP, Andrew Turner, joined apprentices from companies such as Airbus and BAE Systems to launch the UK Aerospace Youth Rocketry Challenge (UKAYRoC) in the grounds of the Palace of Westminster.
The challenge is to encourage young people engaged in science, maths and English to get together and build a rocket. The task is to put together a rocket, weighing no more than 650 grams, toachieve a target altitude of 825 feet, with a flight duration of between 48 and 50 seconds, It then has to be landed safely with the use of two parachutes. The prize is to compete against American and French winning teams at Farnham International Airshow in 2014.
Mr Turner, said:
“I know from working with the Technology Group, which I set up around 18 months ago, that it is imperative we attract more young people into engineering. The Group is now working with a students and staff from Christ the King College, they are working to spread the word amongst young people that there are a some great high-tech companies on the Island offering exciting job opportunities. We all need to dispel the myth that engineering is just for geeks!
“I know from initiatives I have been involved in previously, that when young people take part in challenges such as this, they see for themselves that engineering can be exciting and interesting. Let’s hope that lots of young Islanders take up the challenge and build a rocket. It can lead them to finding out more and considering a career in engineering.”
The UKAYRoC 2014 challenge is open to schools and youth organisations. Teams are made up of three to five students from school years 7 to 13. Organisations are able to enter up to three teams and registration is now open.
Chairman of the Isle of Wight Technology Group, Geoff Underwood commented;
“There is no better way to engage young people in engineering than to involve them in a project such as this. Interestingly, there is particular significance to the Island in this case, since the only rockets to be built in the UK were, in fact, built by Saunders-Roe in East Cowes between 1955 and 1971. The testing station is still very much in evidence at Highdown, near Totland. My father was one of the engineers involved in the construction of these rockets and it certainly had some influence on my decision to become an engineer.”