Students on Course for Career in Structural Engineering with The Smallpeice Trust

Leamington Spa, United Kingdom, August 04, 2012 --( From 24th to 27th July, fifty aspiring young engineers from across the UK were given a unique insight into what is involved in the design and construction of a structure. Organised by educational charity, The Smallpeice Trust and sponsored by Coventry University, students gained a valuable practical knowledge of some of the greatest engineering challenges of our time.

Over the four-day residential course, the students aged 16 and 17, learnt about the fundamentals of structural engineering including pressures, stresses and strains. They spent time discovering the principles of statics, mechanics, different structure forms and materials. Working in small teams, the students competed against each other in a bridge building task, with constraints such as a set budget and certain test criteria. Students were able to use the knowledge they had recently gained as they built their structures, including looking at the strength of various materials to see how their inclusion may necessiitate a change in design.

As part of the course the students went on a campus tour which gave them the chance to explore the university’s facilities, including the recently built Engineering and Computing building. This gave them an opportunity to test their understanding of the information they had recently gained by seeing a structure first hand.

Throughout the four days students developed life skills such as teamwork, communication, problem solving and time management. They also had the opportunity to find out about relevant engineering degrees, under the guidance of technical specialists who provided valuable careers advice. Social activities included a film evening, sports night and a barbeque on the penultimate night where students and supervisors had the opportunity to socialise and share their experiences of the week.

Spokesperson for The Smallpeice Trust, Lucy Kelly commented, “Thanks to Coventry University, we have been able to give budding engineers the chance to create solutions to real-life problems. Structural engineers are involved in some of the world's biggest challenges, ensuring buildings and other structures are fit for purpose so we are confident that this type of activity will enthuse and encourage more young people to consider careers in structural engineering.”

David Trujillo, Senior Lecturer in the Department of the Built Environment at Coventry University said: “It has been a pleasure to work with this group of students, they are keen, hard-working, bright, committed and very inquisitive. The future of the profession is in safe hands, if future engineers are anything like them. I must add I was delighted to see that so many of the participants were girls, engineering needs more women, and it should no longer be seen as aprofession only for men. It is encouraging to see that at school level it is no longer seen that way.”

The Structural Engineering course is run by the independent educational charity, The Smallpeice Trust, as part of an ongoing programme of subsidised 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 Smallpeice Trust:
Gemma Murphy
+44(0)1926 333214
or contact:
Claire Fisher
Tel: 01926 333203
Fax: 01926 333202