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Youngsters tackle engineering challenge

 March 19, 2015 | Simon Jenkins


Dr Kerry Baker of the University of Leeds works with pupil Ferdos Mohammed from Shakespeare Primary School in Burmantofts during the HESCO Bastion engineering workshop at the University.

A well-known Leeds firm has challenged the city’s schoolchildren to become the engineers of the future.

The HESCO Bastion engineering challenge is designed to engage young people with engineering through a fun and interactive programme based around the company’s products which have been used to save lives and protect property around the world.

Uni. of Leeds. Hesco/Primary School Engineering Event. Pupils from Shakespeare Primary School take part in the Hesco workshop at Uni. Of Leeds. Pictured, Orla Gilson, Festival Host & Mechatronic & Robotics Engineering Student with pupils (left to right) Martin Zsiga & Tyler Quinlavan.

Uni. of Leeds.
Hesco/Primary School Engineering Event.
Pupils from Shakespeare Primary School take part in the Hesco workshop at Uni. Of Leeds.
Pictured, Orla Gilson, Festival Host & Mechatronic & Robotics Engineering Student with pupils (left to right) Martin Zsiga & Tyler Quinlavan.

Engineering student Orla Gilson works with Martin Zsiga and Tyler Quinlavan from Shakespeare Primary School in Burmantofts during the HESCO Bastion engineering workshop at the University.

Pupils from Shakespeare Primary School in Burmantofts took up the challenge, based around HESCO’s versatile gabion basket, as part of a Leeds Festival of Science event held at the University of Leeds on Tuesday. The students, aged 11-14, were shown how with small changes to the design the basket can protect military personnel in warzones and form effective flood defences in extreme weather conditions.

They were then challenged to construct a scale model of the basket – using card, plastic coils, polythene bags and paperclips.

The fun event has a serious side, as organiser Dr Kerry Baker explains: “Society desperately needs more young people to train as engineers. The gabion basket was invented by Jimi Heselden who founded HESCO Bastion. It’s a perfect example of someone coming up with a great idea, following it through into manufacturing and then adapting that design for different purposes.

“In the years ahead we will need more of this to help us face new and emergent challenges. To do this, society needs more intelligent and motivated young people who have the bright ideas and the manufacturing skills to turn these into reality.”

Dr Baker leads a University of Leeds team taking this challenge out into local schools and raising awareness of engineering as a subject area and a future career with young people from across the region. The programme is supported by Jimbo’s Fund, named in honour of Mr Heselden, who died in 2010, and it is being delivered in partnership with Leeds Community Foundation, Leeds City Council’s Museum Service, the STEM Ambassadors programme and schools in East and South Leeds.

Youngsters tackle engineering challenge