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Pwllheli engineering students reach F1 in Schools UK final

Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor students have reached the UK final of the F1 in Schools competition.

‘Team Come and Go’, comprising engineering students from the Pwllheli Hafan campus, will compete in Rotherham next month after designing the fastest car in the North Wales heats.

There were also prizes for Pwllheli teams ‘Hafan Hamsters’, who won best engineering and design portfolio, and ‘Yellow Peril’, who were awarded best brand identity.

Seven teams represented Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor’s Pwllheli and Dolgellau campuses in the event at Denbigh Leisure Centre, competing against teams from across North Wales.

Five of the college’s teams were from the BTEC Level 3 Enhanced General Engineering course, and competed in the development class against Ysgol Tywyn, Ysgol Syr Hugh Owen, Denbigh, Connah's Quay, Prestatyn and Castell Alun high schools.

The other two were from the BTEC Level 2 General Engineering course for 14-16-year-olds, representing the college as well as their schools Ysgol Glan y Môr, Ysgol Botwnnog and Ysgol Eifionydd.

Teams of six students designed their cars at the college using computer-aided design package Fusion 360, before manufacturing them on a CNC Denford milling machine.

Then at the event in Denbigh, they raced the cars four times each over a flat, 20-metre track, reaching speeds in excess of 35 miles per hour.

The teams also had to secure sponsorship for their cars from local businesses, demonstrating their business and marketing acumen. They were judged not only on how fast their car raced, but also on a verbal presentation to judges, and on their engineering and enterprise portfolios.

The college’s teams and sponsors in the development class were: Team Come & Go (sponsored by CK Tools and Cwmni Arian Cyf), Hafan Hamsters (Pace Fire, MAC Fire and Safety, WRP Fire and Safety), Mach 7 (Milliput Dolgellau, Cwt Cybi), Meirionnydd Masters (Automax Motorsport Dolgellau) and Yellow Peril (Deintyddfa Deudraeth, Dyffryn Seaside General Store, Victoria Inn Llanbedr).

Teams and sponsors in the entry level category were: Pwllheli Panthers (Clogau Motors Dolgellau) and Hadron (BEATServices).

Team Come and Go, comprising Osian, Liam, Jac J, Jack T, Evan, Jack R and Gethin, finished second overall across the categories, qualifying for the UK final along with first-placed Team Elan from Denbigh High School.

Team Come and Go are fundraising ahead of the UK final in Rotherham. To donate, visit the GoFundMe page here.

Emlyn Evans, Engineering lecturer at both the Pwllheli and Dolgellau campuses, said: “The F1 in schools competition is a valuable asset for teaching and enhancing STEM subjects such as engineering.

“It’s great to have the opportunity to have our students involved in such an engaging and rewarding project.

“All our learners have been working diligently on the design of their race cars to meet the strict technical regulations for the competition. They have worked well together and we are proud of their achievements.”

The student design engineers started learning to use Fusion 360 in September, using the package to create a rendered image and working drawings before manufacturing their F1 race cars in the development stage.

The project fitted in with the Level 3 students’ unit 2 assessment, ‘Delivery of an engineering project safely as a team’.

Emlyn said: “It involves our students using the skills they have acquired as part of the Level 3 Enhanced engineering course. This includes computer-aided design and additive manufacturing, both part of the BTEC modules, while communication, presentation and social skills are developed as part of the Welsh Baccalaureate.

“Having developed these skills, learners approached local companies for sponsorship opportunities to fund their participation in the event, as well as undertaking their own fundraising by 3D-printing Christmas decorations.”

Emlyn thanked all the sponsors of this year’s teams, saying: “This year the students have received overwhelming support from local companies who have sponsored each team as part of their fundraising efforts to cover the entry fees, materials, team clothing and travelling costs to go to the event.

“A big thank you to all the companies who have supported our teams this year.”

The teams were also supported by funding from the Engineering Education Scheme Wales (EESW).

Emlyn added: “The support we receive from the EESW is vital to allow the competition to thrive in the future.

“The funding EESW receives from local councils is not guaranteed, but we hope by promoting the success of our teams, it will show its value as a worthwhile investment, which will give future students the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of many other teams from Wales who have made it through the UK and world finals.”

Stephen Lane, EESW Activities Manager, said: “The F1 in Schools challenge inspires students to develop their STEM skills and learn about physics, aerodynamics, design, manufacture, branding, graphics, sponsorship, marketing, leadership/teamwork, media skills and financial strategy, and apply them in a practical, imaginative, competitive and exciting way.

“EESW hopes to have continued funding in order to continue delivering the activity across Wales next year.”

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