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Talented students get on board with Poole Maritime Festival

Talented local students from across Dorset got creative in an innovative challenge to design a lifting device that can pull people safely from the sea. 

108 students from 8 schools across Dorset took part in the maritime themed challenge on Monday 15 May. The students, aged 12 years, split into 18 groups to work on their designs using a 3D model of an inshore lifeboat. 

Winners of Borough of Poole's STEM event

They then presented their finished designs to an impressive panel of judges which included John McCallion - RNLI, Emmeline Payne - Sunseeker International, Phil Whitehurst - Actisense, Mark Loose - Bournemouth & Poole College and Bryan Berry - Engineering UK

Students created to-scale models to demonstrate their lifting device. Innovative design solutions included slings that pull the casualty from the water, technical hoists, ropes with recyclable buoyancy aids and boot extensions. 

Students were judged not only on their final solution but on the core employability skills demonstrated throughout the day, such as team work, innovation, problem solving, communication and resilience. 

The overall Winning Team ‘Swimsafe Rescue’ from St Edward’s RC/CE VA School created ‘SS Rescue’, which acted as a below the surface platform designed to float the unconscious casualty attached to the rib back to safety. A second team from St Edward’s RC/CE VA School, ‘Dockside Doozeys’ won the Runner-Up Best Business Award. 

Along with their impressive 3D trophies the winners will be rewarded with a trip on the Royal Navy’s mine countermeasures vessel, HMS Hurworth. 

Purbeck High School won the Team Award, Parkstone Grammar School won The Best Elevator Pitch and Poole High School won The Innovation Award. 

The event organised by Borough of Poole and supported by Young Enterprise kick started a special programme of business events created to launch Poole Maritime Festival. Hannah Cook from Young Enterprise said: "Young Enterprise would like to thank all the businesses and organisations who supported the young people and enabled this vital opportunity for them to broaden their horizons and understand the skills and attitudes required for a career in STEM industries."

Adrian Trevett, Economic Development Manager, Borough of Poole, said: “It was important that this business programme included a special event for our talented students. We are delighted that so many local schools got on board and the sheer energy and creativity demonstrated by the students was inspiring. We hope the event will encourage our next generation towards Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics related careers. 

“We would also like to thank the local business leaders and academics from the marine sector who supported this event and our guest speaker, Neil Heritage supporting Help for Heroes, who provided an amazing inspirational talk about overcoming life's challenges to succeed.” 

John McCallion, RNLI, said: “To witness the enthusiasm, technical and creative aptitude combined with excellent teamwork among the participants was very impressive. I’m hopeful that many of these students will choose to pursue careers in the engineering and manufacturing sectors. Based upon what we witnessed during the Poole Maritime Festival STEM event, the marine industry in our region has massive potential. The main challenge for us going forward is to ensure we persuade these talented girls and boys to join us in the marine sector." 

Sharon Jones, from Barclays Eagle Lab, who created the project work packs, participant medals and winning trophies, said: “It has been a privilege to see the varied and innovative ways in which each team approached and solved the engineering challenge. Throughout the day it was evident the 3D printer engaged interest and provoked discussion, with students exploring how they could include new and sustainable technology in their prototypes." 

Charlotte Eastwood from St Edwards RC/CE VA School who supported the winning teams said: “St Edward’s School is very keen to promote STEM subjects as part of preparing students for successful futures. It was an amazing experience for our students, who all really enjoyed the event, we look forward to attending similar events in the future."