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Engineering the future



Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 12.58.33A UNIQUE partnership between UWTSD, A-Level students, the Engineering Education Scheme Wales (EESW) and local businesses is helping to inspire the next generation of engineers and scientists.

The ‘Big Bang’ is the largest annual event scheme in South Wales for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) where professional engineers from link companies work with a team of Year 12 students and their teacher for 5-6 months on a real engineering problem.

The scheme continues to reap rewards with Bishop Vaughan sixth formers becoming the latest students to win a top engineering and science award for designing a glass bottle sorting device.

The team of eight pupils competed against 75 other teams from across South Wales, and won the ‘Best Application of Engineering and Technology’ award, and were also nominated for ‘Best Working Prototype’ at the Engineering Education Scheme for Wales linked with STEM.

Their award was presented to them by Mr R. Cater from the Institution of Engineering and Technology.

GlassTech, a local recycling company based in Neath, challenged the students to create a device to recognise different coloured glass bottles and then sort them to relevant containers, working with UWTSD, the team used everyday technology to solve the problem in the form of a Web Cam.

The team had to prepare a technical report and present their solution to senior engineers and academics at the ‘Big Bang’ awards day.

Their solution and display for the working model gathered a lot of interest especially from Carwyn Jones AM.

The students; Phoebe Hughes, Morgan Thomas, Keefe Montebon, Joseph Robinson, Rhys Brannan, Baptin Syriac, Joel Baiju and Eloisa Maristela have also been awarded the Gold Crest award, for their hard work and excellent technical report, receiving extra 70 UCAS entry points for getting into university.

Student Keefe Montebon said: “It was such an amazing experience and it has inspired us all to go on to higher education and achieve even more.”

Pam Berry – EESW West Wales Coordinator said: “The team worked incredibly hard and received excellent support from UWTSD lecturers Richard Morgan and Dr. Arnaud Marotin. UWTSD has been an excellent supporter of EESW, hosting workshops to enable students to develop prototypes.”

Karen John from Glass Tech added: “These are a remarkable group of youngsters and engineers of the future. I am absolutely impressed at how professional they are. I would love to invite the students, their teacher and the UWTSD lecturers to Glass Tech to see the industrial process and commercial tonnage and issues glass recycling face. I am sure one of these bright sparks will come up with a solution.”

UWTSD lecturer Richard Morgan said working with the teams from Bishop Vaughan Comprehensive School and Gower College Swansea, alongside fellow lecturer Dr Arnaud Marotin, had been as been a positive and rewarding experience this year.

“The teams have demonstrated exceptional levels of commitment and professionalism and have had exposure to some of the excellent facilities and resources on offer within the Engineering department at UWTSD,” he said:

“The fantastic achievements at the recent Engineering Education Scheme Wales competition are a testament to the first-rate efforts of the team members and the support and encouragement provided by staff at the school and the college.

“Both Arnaud and I have been delighted with the way in which these industrially focussed projects have strengthened the links between schools, colleges and the university. Engineering graduates are in high demand and it’s reassuring to see such enthusiasm and talent. We are sure that we have been witnessing some of ‘tomorrow’s engineers’ in action.”

If you have an interest in engineering, every September UWTSD also host a three day residential engineering and design event called ‘Head Start’, at our Swansea Campus for Year 12 and 13 students.

Participants have the opportunity to experience university life while working on exciting challenges using a range of industry level facilities and equipment at the university.

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Teacher’s gruelling challenge to help visually impaired child



TEACHER Sion Jenkins is running 100 laps around a famous Pembrokeshire landmark to raise money to help a visually impaired child in his class.

He is aiming to raise £2,000 on crowd funder platform Go Fund Me by doing laps of Carew Castle and Mill in just 24 hours, about one hundred miles in total.

Sion said: “I decided that I wanted to raise money to help purchase a trike/adapted bike to help a visually impaired child in my class.

“Due to his sight, he isn’t able to ride a bike – and is desperate to gain some independence/confidence and ride a bike like every other child.

“On the back of a challenge set by school, to complete the ‘100 challenge’ as a tribute to Captain Sir Tom Moore, I decided to tie the two together and have a go at completing this gruelling challenge.

“100 laps of Carew Castle and Mill will total just under 100 miles – in less than 24 hours.”

If you would like to contribute to this epic challenge this is the link:

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Schools partnership promotes the benefits of outdoor learning



OUTDOOR learning across the county has received a welcome boost over the past 12 months as a result of additional funding secured by the Pembrokeshire Outdoor Schools (PODS) project, which has covered the cost of a Co-ordinator working directly with schools.

Thanks to financial backing from the People’s Postcode Local Trust and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Trust, the PODS Co-ordinator has been able to help with the delivery of high quality, curriculum-linked learning experiences in school grounds and local outdoor spaces.

Part of the Co-ordinator’s role is also to bring together local and national organisations, including Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority’s Discovery team, teachers and head teachers. Pooling their diverse knowledge and expertise, the partnership seeks to share good practice and promote the benefits of taking lessons outdoors.

Pembrokeshire Outdoor Schools Co-ordinator Bryony Rees said: “Last summer, the Welsh Government recognised the importance of outdoor learning in the post-lockdown return to school. We have been working hard to support this by giving children and teachers increased opportunities to take their learning outdoors.

“We have already engaged with a number of schools across Pembrokeshire and produced some live webinars. Supporting resources for these can be found on HWB. This has made it possible to reach out to even more schools with practical information, inspiration and advice on delivering outdoor learning programmes.

“Several schools have taken the opportunity to develop their school grounds to support outdoor learning and more recently, Neyland Community School has introduced outdoor lessons every Friday.”

During the most recent lockdown, work has continued online and the PODS website has been developed to provide teachers with some learning resources. Outdoor learning ideas and inspiration for teachers and parents are also shared on the PODS Facebook page (Pembrokeshire Outdoor Schools) and on Twitter @PembsOutdoorSch.

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Education announcement welcomed by Pembrokeshire County Council



THE LOCAL AUTHORITY has said that it welcomes the Welsh Government’s announcement today (Friday, 29th January) that schools will be the first to reopen when Wales’ current lockdown restrictions are lifted.

First Minister Mark Drakeford has announced that the ‘alert level four’ restrictions will remain in Wales for three more weeks but following that period, there would be a ‘phased and flexible back-to-school approach if coronavirus cases continue to fall’.

He said primary school children would be the first to return, if the public health situation continues to improve, and that students studying vocational qualifications would also be among those prioritised for the phased return to colleges.

Mr Drakeford said: “We’ve seen a really welcome fall in cases of the virus all over Wales, but they are still too high and the NHS continues to be under intense pressure.

“We need to keep the lockdown restrictions in place for a little while longer to help us bring rates of the virus down further. If we can do this, we will create the headroom we need to get children back to school after half term – starting with the youngest at primary schools.

“We will work with teachers, colleges, local authorities to plan for the safe return of children to school over the next couple of weeks and keep parents updated.”

Pembrokeshire’s Director of Education, Steven Richards-Downes, will be meeting virtually with Welsh Government ministers today together with other Education Directors.

Mr Richards-Downes said: “We welcome the Welsh Government’s statement that schools will be the first to reopen, whenever that may be.

“We will continue to work directly with unions, headteachers, governing bodies and other Council services to ensure that schools are Covid-safe when they are re-opened.

“Distance learning will continue for now and parents should contact their schools directly if they have any queries regarding this.”

He added: “Any parent experiencing difficulties with digital exclusion should contact their school directly.

Free school meals payments will continue to be paid to families who have applied for them, as planned. The next payments will be made on Thursday, 4th February.

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