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The Smallpeice Trust

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Students Get to Grips with Nuclear Engineering Courtesy of the Smallpeice Trust

Leamington Spa, United Kingdom, July 31, 2014 --( From 21st to 24th 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, and sponsored by the University’s Dalton Nuclear Institute was organised by The Smallpeice Trust, in collaboration with the National Nuclear Laboratory.

During the course, 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 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 nuclear plants. Masterclasses covering nuclear waste, alternative fission systems and Fukushima were also included.

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 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 skills. The social programme included a film night, sports activities and culminated in a dinner and disco where students and supporting organisations had the opportunity to socialise and share their experiences of the week.

Dr John Roberts from The University of Manchester School of Physics and Astronomy commented, “Working in partnership with The Smallpeice Trust and the National Nuclear Laboratory enables us to provide an introduction into nuclear engineering to Key Stage 4 pupils in a challenging and invigorating way. The students had the chance to attend thought-provoking presentations and demonstrations delivered by University experts and to quiz industry leaders in a special "Question Time" event. It’s been an inspirational 4 days on campus and the feedback has shown that the students enjoyed the experience enormously!”

Spokesperson for The Smallpeice Trust, Claire Fisher commented, “We always aim to deliver exciting and innovative courses and it’s very important that we provide a practical element and an insight into industry too. Our continuing partnership with the Dalton Nuclear Institute at The University of Manchester and the National Nuclear Laboratory 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 on-going programme of residential courses to help young people aged 12 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 17,495 students across the UK in the past year.

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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 12 to 18.

Over the past year, The Smallpeice Trust has engaged with 17,495 young people through 35 different subsidised residential courses, in-school STEM Days and starting up STEM Clubs. More emphasis has been put on programmes physically delivered by The Smallpeice Trust. The Smallpeice Trust has also trained 1,280 teachers to enhance their delivery of STEM in the classroom.

The University of Manchester’s Dalton Nuclear Institute:

The University of Manchester, a member of the Russell Group, is one of the largest and most popular universities in the UK. It has a broad range of academic schools and hundreds of specialist research groups undertaking pioneering multi-disciplinary teaching and research of worldwide significance. According to the results of the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, The University of Manchester is now one of the country’s major research universities, rated third in the UK in terms of "research power."

Winner of the 2011 Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education for its world-leading applied nuclear research, higher learning and social engagement, the Dalton Nuclear Institute provides the focus for Manchester’s capabilities across the full range of nuclear science, engineering, policy and business. Through academic, national laboratory and industrial interdisciplinary collaboration, The University of Manchester, along with other UK academic institutions, plays a key role in providing the high-level knowledge and skills needed by the nuclear sector; covering undergraduate courses, postgraduate qualifications and research, and professional development courses for industry.
Contact Information
The Smallpeice Trust
Claire Fisher
+44(0)1926 333203

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