Students are up to Rotary’s technology challenge

Intermediate age group winners
Intermediate age group winners

Rotary has for many years helped young students to appreciate the skill and value of technology design and construction, which could help them in the direction of a career in this field.

Rotary technology tournaments take place all over the country.

Members from eight Rotary clubs in Luton and Central Bedfordshire organised their popular annual event at Stopsley Baptist Church, attracting 31 teams each comprising four students from local schools, colleges and academies.

This year’s challenge was to design a device to enable radioactive material to be safely handled remotely from a distance of 1500mm.

The teams, who were divided into three age groups, were asked to provide tools, instruments, adhesives, drawing equipment etc to assist in designing and constructing the device from the materials supplied, such as wood strips, dowel, rubber bands, screws, string and card.

The teams were marked on design analysis and development, construction skills and quality, the final test result and the completion of the task in the time allotted. Each team in turn demonstrated their creation to the Rotarian judges, all with appropriate skills, and the winners were announced.

The picture, above, features the winning intermediate age group team from the brand new Central Bedfordshire University Technical College, which opened in 2012 in Houghton Regis. The team (l to r Emma Marks, Jack Reidy, Rhys Puddiphatt and Adam Baker) are with design engineer John Hockey, who has wide experience in many fields of engineering design and development.

John presented awards to winners and runners-up in the three categories including Manshead Upper School in Dunstable who have now received a runners-up award in two consecutive years. This was followed by a fascinating address by John which was much appreciated by his young audience. Congratulations also to the Samuel Whitbread Academy at Clifton, Redborne Upper School from Ampthill and Bedford Free School whose teams shared the awards with a high standard of construction.

Schools are welcome to apply for information on next year’s tournament by contacting John Halstead on