A unique feature of UTCs is the Challenge Projects, designed by employer-partners and the teaching staff.
These consider real life business challenges. Students work on them as part of their timetable, in class, year or even whole school groups. They deepen and broaden students’ understanding and knowledge of their academic and technical qualifications, English and Maths whilst at the same time developing potential solutions for the employers to consider and adopt.
Challenge Projects can last a half term, a term or even an academic year. Students visit the employer and the relevant site and present their work to employers in the UTC Boardroom or Lecture Theatre. Working in teams, students develop their communication and presentation skills.
In the Sixth Form, students have the opportunity to carry on with a project on an individual basis, as part of the Extended Project AS level.
Here are some examples of Challenge Projects to be undertaken at South Devon UTC:
Our Oceans are having to deal with a serious problem – marine litter. Thousands of tonnes of man-made litter & debris is finding its way into our oceans every year. With most items being made from plastic which doesn’t biodegrade, it’s a problem that isn’t going to disappear. It is a local issue on our doorstep and an increasing issue for our planet. This debris can be found on the beaches of every continent around the world. Marine litter that is already in our oceans could remain for many generations and figures show that the amount of marine litter is increasing.
Locally, Keep Britain Tidy’s ‘BeachCare’ project has removed over 50 tonnes of litter from Devon & Cornwall’s beaches with volunteer groups. Internationally, an extreme example of the problem is the ‘Pacific Garbage patch’. This is a huge area of litter in the Pacific ocean where an estimated 100,000,000 tonnes of waste has created a ‘waste soup’ floating in the ocean held together by rotating currents.
This Challenge Project will ask you to identify the marine litter problem through fieldwork on the beach. You will then evaluate your results and decide on how to tackle some of the issues identified. We will be looking for creative and effective ways of tackling beach litter once you have identified the problems ‘first hand’ on our beaches in the South West. An action plan on how to tackle the issues will be created.
A final report will be produced and a presentation for a panel of experts.
There is one thing that changes everything for people living in poverty: clean water. Combined with toilets and hand-washing, it transforms lives by unlocking better health, education and livelihoods. Through partners in some of the poorest parts of the world, WaterAid has reached 19.2 million people with clean water and 15.1 million people with sanitation. To end poverty, WaterAid believes that everyone, everywhere must have clean water and toilets. WaterAid was founded in 1981 by the UK water industry. Within regional water companies, fundraising committees were set up to organise fundraising and awareness raising events.
The water industry is still very important to WaterAid and water industry staff volunteers regularly give school talks and workshops about WaterAid’s work. Many of the water companies have their own education centres which are visited by thousands of school children each year. Some of the centres have WaterAid displays to show children and other visitors the differences between how we get our water compared to people living in poor communities around the world. However, although the education centres have some WaterAid posters and materials on display, they are keen to have attractive and informative displays which will raise awareness of WaterAid’s work and inspire them to fundraise.
This Challenge Project is to create a display that informs and inspires young people to take some form of action for WaterAid. This could be gathering support in some way or fundraising. It needs to feature WaterAid’s key technologies and what we do and, if possible have an interactive element. The displays should also be portable, so that they can be used on school visits, as well as in the centres. Students will have the opportunity to work with WaterAid staff and volunteers and will present their concepts and final proposals to professional staff at WaterAid.
One of the responsibilities of the CTCL Prep Cell at Centrax in Newton Abbot is cutting metal bar, of differing cross-sections, into billet lengths ready for manufacturing into machined components for Gas Turbines & Jet Engines.
Bar is cut into billets in bundles or singly on a band saw, coded, finished and put through two dry blast systems for cleaning and deburring. A systemised method is required to count the billets as they go into the dry blast machine. The system should also work independently of the dry blast machine.
This Challenge Project will involve site visits to Centrax, then work on the design and build of a system in the UTCs CAD suite Mechanical Engineering workshops. Operational staff from Centrax will give students feedback on concepts and select the best system.