Students on Course for Career in Structural Engineering Thanks to the Smallpeice Trust

Leamington Spa, United Kingdom, August 08, 2014 --( From 28th to 31st July, forty-nine 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 and the Institution of Structural Engineers, 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, learned 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 necessitate a change in design.

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 games evening in the War Memorial Park, a trip to the local Laser Quest and a barbeque on the penultimate night where students and supervisors had the opportunity to socialise and share their experiences of the week.

Alfred Gand, Structural Engineer and Lecturer at Coventry University commented: "This is the fourth consecutive year of running this course, and the energy, enthusiasm and dedication demonstrated by the participating students has always been awesome, this year in particular. The student's imagination, creativity and grasp of the fundamental structural concepts and bridge forms was clearly inspiring. Even more inspiring was the fact that, before the course ended, some students have actually firmed up their decisions to pursue either structural engineering in particular, or engineering in general, as a life long career. This is clearly the design intent of the course. The future of the industry is convincingly positive and I believe the industry will offer fantastic opportunities for talented young people, such as these, to bring their skills and enthusiasm to bear."

Spokesperson for The Smallpeice Trust, Claire Fisher, added, “Thanks to Coventry University and the Institution of Structural Engineers, 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.”

The Structural 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.

The new course timetable for 2015 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.

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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.

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.

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.

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
Claire Fisher
+44(0)1926 333203