Winners announced in South East engineering competition for schools

27 June 2019

Canterbury Christ Church University and Primary Engineer Programmes have announced the winners of the “If you were an engineer, what would you do?” South East competition.

Launched at the end of 2018, the competition aims to inspire a generation of young people, from all backgrounds, to explore and seek careers in engineering, science and technology.

More than 3,300 primary and secondary pupils from Kent, Essex, East Sussex worked with local engineers and created ideas and designs to help solve real-world problems and issues.

Out of the entries submitted, 23 pupils had their inventions selected as winning designs, and they celebrated at an awards ceremony earlier this month, when their winning designs displayed at a public exhibition at the University’s Augustine House.

One of the winning designs will be chosen and brought to life as a prototype by the University’s School of Engineering.   

The 23 winning designs included a litter picking drone, a connective scooter, a moulded arm cradle to give mother’s a break from their new-borns, a hair styling machine, plastic crusher and elderly assisted glasses.

Samuel Storey, who is in Year 7 at Towers School and Sixth Form Centre, designed the Litter Picker Drone.

Speaking on the idea behind his invention, he said: “At the moment there is a lot of plastic in our seas and on beaches and it is a big problem. My invention has got a claw to pick up the plastic on the beaches and in the sea and it can be controlled by a professional person. It also has speaker to tell people to pick up their rubbish. If my invention was made into a prototype I would be ecstatic, I’d feel over the moon.”


LtoR: Professor Rama Thirunamachandran (Vice-Chancellor), Chris Rochester (UK Director Primary Engineer), Oyinkansola Jinadu-Adewal and Professor Helen James (Senior Pro Vice-Chancellor Education, Enhancement and Student Experience).

Oyinkansola Jinadu-Adewale, is in Year 10 at Chelmsford County High School designed the Tutum, a knife that when used with force, as in an attack, would see the blade fall out of the handle. She said: "I kept seeing knife crime on the news and I thought this idea would help to tackle the issue and lower the risk of being injured."

Dr Susan Scurlock, MBE founder of Primary Engineer, said: “Each year I am astounded at the solutions the children engineer. After looking round the exhibition you are left not only inspired by their ideas but you also leave with a feeling that we will be leaving the world in good hands.”

Professor Helen James, Senior Pro Vice-Chancellor (Education, Enhancement and Student Experience) at Christ Church, said: “I feel really honoured to be a part of this and not least because as a woman engineer I’m not very often in the company of other women engineers and so many of our projects are from female engineers.”

“These projects are fantastic and socially relevant – helping individuals’ i.e people with disabilities or people who are carers. It’s not just about the maths and the sciences but it’s the ability to think creatively and being involved with solving the problems of the future so engineering is changing the world that we live in.”

The competition celebrates the ingenuity of children from three to 19-years-old and links the schools to the University and engineering firms. Entries were selected by an industry-led judging panel.

In partnership with local industry expertise, the University will deliver a new industry-informed flexible curriculum in Engineering, Technology and Product Design. This new exciting partnership will benefit Kent and the wider region by addressing higher level skills shortages in STEM subjects and support regional economic growth, adding between £7.6m to £11.4m into the regional economy each year.


Notes to Editor

  • Canterbury Christ Church University was announced as the new South East region’s university partner for the competition in November 2018.
  • Primary Engineer Programmes is a not for profit educational organisation. Its approach brings engineering and engineers into primary and secondary classrooms and curricula. Inspiring children, pupils and teachers through continued professional development, whole class projects, and the “if you were an engineer, what would you do?” competition.,
  • “If you were an engineer what would you do?” is a UK-wide annual competition open to 3-19 year olds which asks them to interview engineers to design a solution to a problem that they have identified.
  • In the 2017/2018 academic year over 37,000 pupils across the UK entered the competition.
  • The competition is addressing diversity with a 50/50 gender split for entries. 58% of last year’s winners were female.
  • Across the UK, pupil designs are selected and made by university partners - bringing their inventions to life. These are then unveiled at awards events and public exhibitions across the country

Canterbury Christ Church University

Canterbury Christ Church University is a modern university with 16,000 students across Kent and Medway. Its courses span a wide range of academic and professional subject areas.

  • Over 94% of our UK undergraduates were in employment or further studies six months after completing their studies*.
  • We are one of the South East’s largest providers of education, training and skills leading to public service careers.

*2015/16 Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education survey


Connect with us

Last edited: 09/08/2019 11:43:00