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The Smallpeice Trust

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Nuclear Engineering Course a Resounding Success

Sixty teenagers from across the UK have been learning how to solve some of the key challenges facing the nuclear industry in a four-day residential course, held at Lancaster University, organised by educational charity The Smallpeice Trust and sponsored by the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL).

Leamington Spa, United Kingdom, July 22, 2012 --( From 16th to 19th July, sixty teenagers from across the UK have been learning how to solve some of the key challenges facing the nuclear industry. The four-day residential course, held at Lancaster University, was organised by educational charity The Smallpeice Trust and sponsored by the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL).

Over the four days, the 14 to 16 year old students took part in a combination of presentations, workshops, practical ‘design and make’ projects, and a final assessment which involved wearing full protective clothing. A variety of topical subjects were tackled including radiation, the environment, health and safety and decommissioning of waste.

The design-and-make project challenged students to move spent nuclear fuel from a storage facility. It involved the students pitching their idea in a “Dragon’s Den” type of scenario in order to gain funding, allowing them to then go out and make their design.

As well as working on the design, build and test elements of the projects, they developed life skills such as teamwork, communication, problem solving, time management, finance and presentation. The social programme included a film night, the ‘rocket’ challenge and culminated in a formal dinner and disco where students and supporting organisations had the opportunity to socialise and share their experiences of the week.

NNL Senior Fellow Dominic Rhodes commented, "This is the 7th year that NNL have sponsored this course and - as in previous years - the interest, enthusiasm and innovation shown by the students have been phenomenal. The nuclear industry offers great career opportunities to young people, and if some of the students who have been on the course this week were to go on to consider nuclear as a career choice - either in NNL or elsewhere in the industry - then that would be an additional bonus. They have certainly displayed some of the talent and passion which we look for when we are looking for new recruits."

Spokesperson for The Smallpeice Trust, Gemma Murphy added, “Our partnership with NNL has enabled us to enthuse scientists and engineers of tomorrow and highlight the benefits of careers in the field of nuclear engineering. This year’s course has been a resounding success and we have been most impressed by the calibre of the students.”

The Nuclear Engineering course is organised by independent educational charity, The Smallpeice Trust, and is part of an ongoing programme of residential courses to help young people aged 13 to 18 learn and develop skills in engineering, design, technology and manufacturing. Through running residential courses and STEM enrichment days, The Trust has reached out to 18,175 students across the UK in the past year.

The new course timetable for 2013 will be launched in the autumn school term. Places are allocated on a first come, first served basis. To find out more, visit, or telephone The Smallpeice Trust on 01926 333200.

Notes to editors:

About The Smallpeice Trust:

The Smallpeice Trust is an independent charitable trust which promotes engineering as a career, primarily through the provision of residential courses for young people aged 13 to 18.

The Smallpeice Trust was founded in 1966 by Dr Cosby Smallpeice, a pioneering engineer and inventor of the Smallpeice Lathe. Following the stock market flotation of his company Martonair, Dr Smallpeice invested his energy and part of his personal fortune to set up the Trust to ensure that British industry could continuously benefit from his proven design and engineering philosophies: “Simplicity in design, economy in production.”

The Trust is now governed by an eminent board of non-executive trustees and members from a diverse range of engineering, industry, educational and professional bodies.

In the past academic year, The Smallpeice Trust has reached out to 18,175 young people through 37 different subsidised 4-day residential courses and 1-day in-school STEM Days. The Smallpeice Trust has also trained 674 teachers to enhance their delivery of STEM in the classroom.

A strong interface is maintained with industry, education and professional bodies that help to support, promote and develop the courses. Through these relationships the Trust is also able to provide a number of tailored or specialised courses.

The National Nuclear Laboratory:

Launched in July 2008, the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) provides a full range of research and technology services in support of the full nuclear fuel cycle. NNL has a world-leading combination of experience, facilities and technology, making it a respected international centre of nuclear research and development.

With the Government concluding that NNL contains a number of critical skills and facilities essential to support the nuclear industry in the UK, NNL has a key objective to help safeguard and develop nuclear expertise and multifunctional nuclear laboratory facilities on several sites. Major objectives include a continued commitment to providing service excellence for customers and acting as a trusted provider of independent, authoritative advice on nuclear issues to Government.
Contact Information
The Smallpeice Trust:
Gemma Murphy
+44(0)1926 333214
or contact:
Claire Fisher
Tel: 01926 333203
Fax: 01926 333202

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