Team from Luton Sixth Form make it to the national finals

Five Luton Sixth Form students have made it through to the UK final of The Big Bang UK Young Scientists and Engineers competition.

Year 12 students Luke Fry, Jamal Khan Afridi, Rashid Khan Afridi, Abdur Rahman Shafiq and Sohan Ratajczak impressed the judges at the regional heats with their radio controlled ‘mine-sweeper’ vehicle, which detects buried objects, records the GPS position, takes photographic evidence and emails the data to a command centre.

The team were mentored by engineers Verity Armstrong and Luke Petch from Luton based avionics company Leonardo.

They will go on to join over 200 other project teams from across the UK in the finals, which take place during The Big Bang UK Young Scientists and Engineers Fair at the Birmingham NEC in March 2017.

The competition is an annual contest designed to reward young people’s achievements in all areas of science, technology, engineering and maths.

Allan Crosby, project co-ordinator at Luton Sixth Form College, said: “Having the opportunity to put theory into practice has been great fun and has given the team an idea of just how interesting a career in engineering could be.

“The project has also helped the students develop technical skills and learn how to work well together as a team.

“To be through to the national final is the icing on the cake - the team can’t wait to show off our project again and hope to come back from the UK finals in March with an award!”

The competition is open to 11-18-year-olds, it gives participants the chance to compete for top prizes and awards, and help them build skills and confidence in project-based work.

Commenting on the team’s success, Paul Jackson, chief executive of EngineeringUK - organisers of the competition, said: “This year’s entries to The Big Bang Competition highlight how talented the UK’s young scientists and engineers are.

“It’s easy to see why Luton Sixth Form College’s project has secured a place at the national finals.

“We’re now excited about seeing all the finalists come together at The Fair in March, where they will have the chance to impress the judges and inspire other young visitors.

“Congratulations to the team and good luck in March.”