Tyrone students win UK-wide Inspired Work award at 2017 Big Bang Fair

Thomas Doyle, Ronan Duffy and Michael Travers from CDE with pupils Roan Anderson and Jack Scott.
Thomas Doyle, Ronan Duffy and Michael Travers from CDE with pupils Roan Anderson and Jack Scott.

A team from Cookstown High School has won the coveted Inspired Work Award at the National Fair for Young Scientists and Engineers at the NEC in Birmingham.

The competition aims to recognise and reward young people’s achievements in all areas of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). BAE Systems, one of the world’s most advanced companies, sponsored the award.

Over the last two years pupils TJ Lindsay, Simon Paine, Jack Scott and Roan Anderson have worked with both Queen’s University Belfast and local firm CDE Global to refine their design for a solar powered weather station and wind turbine to be located on Slieve Gallion.

The BAE Systems Inspired Work Prize recognised the project for demonstrating the key qualities of motivation, influence, partnership, communication and trust. The project, which is called ‘PiView Alternative Energy’, originated from an idea for a conventional wind turbine driven by battery power.

“We struggled with the original idea mainly because we couldn’t keep the battery running the turbine sufficiently to ensure it continued to work,” said TJ.

“It was at this point that we started considering alternative power sources and the solar power idea was suggested.”

Queen’s supported the team to build their own solar panels and CDE Global’s engineering team provided advice on the wind turbine design.

“We’ve been a supporter of the Young Innovators project at Cookstown High School for some time now and were delighted to get the opportunity to work with them on this project” said Claire Colvin, director of talent and organisational development at CDE.

A team of four CDE engineers worked with the students to design and manufacture the pilot model.

“Over the course of the last four months we’ve worked on the design with the Young Innovators team and are obviously delighted that their visit to the Big Bang Fair has been a successful one,” said CDE product development engineer Michael Travers.

“It’s testament to the work being done at Cookstown High School and other schools to promote STEM subjects and show the potential that a career in engineering offers.”

Commenting on the partnership, Robert Johnston, a teacher at Cookstown High School said: “The partnerships formed with CDE through this project enabled the pupils to gain access to the expertise of engineers from the company.

“This has not only contributed to the winning of this award but has provided our pupils with experience in every stage of a successful product design experience – from initial concepts, through testing, prototyping and manufacturing.

“It has been a valuable lesson in the power of collaboration with industry to advance the personal development of our young people.”