Heathrow UTC teams WIN the Royal Navy Engineering Challenge!

Teamwork and technical skills lead to success for budding engineers

Teams of student engineers from Heathrow UTC showed they’ve got what it takes to perform under pressure after triumphing over tough national competition to win several categories of the Royal Navy Engineering Challenge Finals, held yesterday in the Newcomen Hangar at HMS Sultan in Portsmouth. Heathrow UTC’s team “Impact” came away as overall winners in the 16-18 competition and also won the “Most Innovative” category, while team “HAE Aquaholics” won “Best Presentation.”

The challenge incorporated design, engineering, construction and business skills as the students worked to prove that their design for an unmanned, powered, remotely operated vehicle to clear objects from the sea-bed would work effectively. They had just one day to build, refine and test their system and they also had to deliver a presentation about their design and approach. The judges were looking for the team that combined manoeuvrability, endurance, design quality and innovation with the most objects cleared from the test area.

Facing strong competition from the 75 other teams, the Heathrow UTC teams drew on their technical skills and teamwork to overcome difficulties and prove that their design could outperform their rivals in clearing objects from the sea-bed – a test tank measuring 3m x 3.4m that included hazards and structures that they had to navigate.

Celebrating their wins in both “Most Innovative” and overall 16-18 age group, Team Impact said: “The Royal Navy challenge was quite stressful at times, for example when one of our components short circuited; constant tests kept exposing flaws in our vessel. The challenge overall was worth the hard work and effort. It helped our team to develop great communication skills with each other and realise how important testing is. Furthermore, the challenge day was stressful due to having a huge amount of competition as well as hoping nothing would go wrong on our vessel. The Royal Navy challenge was extremely exciting to take part in and we were delighted to win.”

Winners of the “Best Presentation” category, the Co-founders and CEOs of HAE Aquaholics said it was: “A unique and exciting challenge to experience.”

The winning team members are:

Team Impact – Philip Rose, Jairus Marcus Pruuli, Harris Berthelsen

Team HAE Aquaholic: Ravi Pradipkumar, Liam Besely, Jayan Patel

Ian Wilkins, Assistant Principal of Heathrow UTC, said: “Staying on HMS Bristol for a night was a most memorable experience that I’m sure all our teams enjoyed. We started early with a wakeup call at 5.30a.m ready for a hearty breakfast that set us up for a successful day. I was so proud of all the students that took part in the event. Getting through to the finals was a major achievement so everyone on the trip should be extremely proud. The winning teams worked extremely hard on their vehicles and their presentations. They fully deserve the Amazon vouchers they received for coming first in the three different categories. I would like to thank the staff involved with the trip and the Royal Navy for hosting the event.”

Vice Admiral Sir Jonathan Woodcock OBE, Second Sea Lord said: “This annual engineering challenge which grows from strength to strength each year offers an invaluable opportunity for the Royal Navy to inspire the engineers of the future whilst at the same time encouraging innovation and showcasing the variety of roles and opportunities that exist for those wishing to pursue a career in engineering.”

“UTCs offer the opportunity for young people to gain the academic and technical qualifications that are valued by the Royal Navy and other industry partners and this annual challenge provides an excellent example of the practical application of the theoretical learning they have received in the classroom.”