‘Olympic’ challenge for young engineers

Students get to grips with a difficult challenge
Students get to grips with a difficult challenge

YOUNG engineers from Eastbourne and Hailsham were given a glimpse into what is involved in designing, building and providing power to Olympic Park venues as part of their level two diploma in engineering.

In a bid to encourage the next generation of engineers, UK Power Networks challenged the 15-year-olds to act as electrical engineers.

They were given a mock exercise to design the infrastructure needed to keep the power flowing and lights blazing during the 2012 Olympics in London.

Students from Causeway School, Cavendish School and Ratton School in Eastbourne and Hailsham Community College, spent a day at Eastbourne Academy with staff from UK Power Networks to put their engineering know-how to the test.

As part of the imaginary task, students were given a 60-megawatt electricity substation, a £1 billion budget for 11 venues ranging from the main Olympic stadium to a media centre and a £2.5 million budget for equipment to distribute the electricity to run the venues.

Once they had designed their Olympic Park, the students used algebra to work out the cost and the level of demand for electricity.

They then chose the best type of electrical cabling to deliver power supplies to site, before placing their venue and electricity network in the fictitious Olympic Park.

Vidia Pallaram, education liaison co-ordinator for UK Power Networks, said the Olympic Park challenge taught children how to use maths and algebra in a practical way.

“The maths teachers were impressed with the way that the results of their calculation would have a practical impact which made it much more interesting for them,” she said.

The Olympic Park challenge was one element of a day-long programme this week for the students who are taking the engineering diploma.

As well as talks on safety and the energy distribution process, they met engineers from UK Power Networks to hear how they got into the industry.