Students Get to Grips with Nuclear Engineering with The Smallpeice Trust

Leamington Spa, United Kingdom, August 04, 2012 --( From 23rd to 26th July, fifty teenagers from across the UK have been learning how to solve some of the challenges facing the nuclear industry. The four-day residential course, held at the University of Manchester, was organised by The Smallpeice Trust, in collaboration with the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB) and the National Nuclear Laboratory.

Over the four days, students took part in a combination of presentations, workshops, practical ‘design and make’ projects, and a final assessment which involved demonstrating their finished product, complete with design drawings, method statements and risk assessments. A variety of topical subjects were tackled including radiation, the environment, health and safety and the decommissioning of plants.

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, sports activities 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.

Miranda Hall from the ECITB commented: “The ECITB are committed to increase the uptake and awareness of careers in engineering construction amongst young people. We are deeply impressed with the quality of work produced and send congratulations to all who took part. The residential course provided a fantastic platform for young people to learn about the nuclear industry. It also gave the students a practical insight into the workplace by supporting them to learn how to work with others to solve problems. The feedback from the students is highly positive, this is due to the innovative mix of learning as well as the provision of team building (social) activities.”

Spokesperson for The Smallpeice Trust, Gemma Murphy added, “Our continuing partnership with the ECITB has enabled us to enthuse the engineers of tomorrow while highlighting the diverse career opportunities in the field of nuclear engineering. This kind of course gives the students a taste of university life and a genuine insight into the real-life challenges faced by engineers in the nuclear sector.”

The Nuclear Engineering course is organised by independent 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.

About The Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB):

The Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB) is the statutory organisation, national training provider and awarding body with responsibility for the training and development of the UK’s engineering construction workforce. Acting on behalf of the industry, the ECITB works closely with Government and employers to attract,develop and qualify engineering construction personnel in hundreds of skills and disciplines.
The Smallpeice Trust:
Gemma Murphy
+44(0)1926 333214
or contact:
Claire Fisher
Tel: 01926 333203
Fax: 01926 333202