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British Army challenge for computing students

Students at UTC Reading have been designing and developing disaster relief products as part of a challenge set by the British Army. 

Divided into four teams, each group was asked to design and develop a different product, complete with assembly instructions and interactive user guides that could be delivered by Army teams to 14-18 year olds.

Teams were tasked with one of the following:

  • developing a Remote Controlled Vehicle (RCV) which can assist with a humanitarian disaster situation such as an earthquake or volcanic eruption
  • designing a product which will assist the Detachment Commander with positioning their trailer of equipment where required
  • designing a programme which will assist the Air Dispatch Squadron’s accuracy and efficiency
  • designing a product or programme which will assist the Corps of Royal Engineers’ ability to aid local towns in light of the recent floods

Each team divided themselves into four competency groups; marketing, design and build, systems control and logistics and finance. The structure was designed to replicate real-world industry projects, with students in charge of all aspects including purchasing materials for their product within a specified budget.

The Army provided mentors, ranging from sergeant to major in rank, to guide students throughout their projects. On Monday (21 March), representatives from the Army judged the students’ final products as they presented their work.

Joanne Harper, UTC Reading Principal, said: “This project gave our students a highly valuable example of how their computing and engineering skills can be applied to the real world.

“It has been fantastic to see them working so well together, under the supervision of the Army, experiencing the various roles that they could be exposed to in their careers. We are very grateful for the time and energy the Army has given to support this very challenging project.”

Matt Freemantle, Delivery Manager at Army in Education, said: “Supporting the students has been all about helping them to develop skills and a resilient attitude in readiness for the world of work. There have been some clever and innovative ideas. You can certainly see some stars of the future.”

Simon Shimmens, Head of Army in Education, said: “Providing experienced Army mentors to support the students has hopefully helped them to realise some of the breadth of challenges found in the workplace, irrespective of type of employer they will work for in the future. I am confident that those exhibiting the right grit and resilience in a project based exercise will gain confidence about their future ability to succeed in whatever career path they choose.”

UTC Reading student Pedro Pendao said: "It was hard to organise everyone and it was quite stressful, but everything worked out well in the end and it was a lot of fun. I got to know people, I got to learn more and I achieved something to add to my CV that will hopefully impress many employers."

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