Life saving engineering
Sixth Form students are taking part in an inspirational engineering programme with Draeger Safety of Blyth, manufacturers of breathing apparatus and safety equipment used globally and the largest supplier to UK Fire brigades.
The Engineering Education Scheme is a sixth month programme, which links students with local companies to work on real scientific, engineering and technology problems.
When Stuart Blenkiron, Head of Project Support at Draeger’s group research and development division, met the students for the first time, he explained the critical role Draeger’s communications equipment plays in the work of fire services around the world. He set the five students the problem of identifying radio signal black spots in buildings, which can hamper rescue work and put lives in danger.
The students, Lizzy Mansfield, Lizzy Metcalf, Clara Nicolson, Ed Pinches and Callum Sturgiss took a valuable fire fighting breathing apparatus and base station communications board back to their School to test the equipment. Practically this involved one student wearing the fire fighter’s breathing apparatus and communicating with the base station board in different parts of the school buildings.
They spent ten days analysing the data they had amassed to form a hypothesis. They then had the enviable opportunity of spending three days in the engineering laboratories at Newcastle University to test out their theory.
The results of their research will be presented to the company and used in further validation trials and ongoing data collection on Draeger systems.
Robert Willdridge, Test Engineer for Draeger R&D and engineering mentor for the students said, “This year’s EES project team has performed to a very high level benefiting both Draeger and themselves. This is a brilliant scheme which gives the students a real insight into the work engineers like me actually do and I hope this project will inspire them to take up a career in engineering”.
Jason Downie, head of science, has been impressed by the students’ enthusiasm. “What makes this scheme so exciting is that the students are working on a real project, for a leading engineering company. They have tackled their research with real rigour and determination and I am looking forward to seeing them present their findings to the company later this month. We are very grateful to Draeger for their support and commitment to this project and look forward to working with them in the future.”
Clara Nicolson was enthusiastic about her experience: "I have improved my knowledge of how an engineering company works. I have gained a greater appreciation for the need of thorough planning and experimentation in the field of engineering and this has reinforced my desire to pursue a career in engineering."