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Soldiers put students to the test

Engineering Challange

[S]tudents from across the North West of England have been testing their skills in an Army engineering challenge.

The engineering trainees were set tests such as recovering a stranded vehicle, hand-making their own vehicle parts and raft-building.

Students from The Engineering College in Liverpool, The Manchester College, Wirral MET, Lakes College in Workington and Blackburn College in Lancashire were put through the military challenges over four consecutive days at two locations.

At Altcar Training Area on Merseyside they were coached by soldiers of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers to make vehicle bolts using just hand tools, and then learned how to work as a team to pull a stranded Army Land Rover out of a ditch using just basic hand tools.

At Swynnerton Training Area near Stoke they then built bunkers, took on a shooting challenge, and used emergency rafts which they made from scrap materials – all under the supervision of the Royal Engineers.

Warrant Officer Class 2 Steve Hutchinson, youth engagement officer at HQ North West, said: “We’ve challenged these young engineers to use the skills they’ve learned at college to solve real-world problems quickly and in the difficult circumstances our own personnel sometimes face. It’s been tough, but I think they’ve enjoyed the experience.”

Huw Brassington, engineering lecturer at Lakes College, added: “Fixing a vehicle with minimum tools brings the theory they learn to life, so this has been a brilliant experience for them. It’s very easy to hide in a classroom, they can’t do that here!”

WO1 Steve Garrett a REME engineer based a 127 Field Company in Manchester, said: “We’re trying to ‘bring on’ the next generation of engineers while raising awareness of opportunities for engineers within the Army.”

Autumn Stamp, a mechanics student at Blackburn College, said: “It’s been great experience for me because I really want to join the Army and become a REME engineer.”

Ellie-Louise Reid, an engineering student at Lakes College, added: “Our studies are more academic in classroom, whereas here they’ve been more practical; so we’ve really gotten into the tasks.”

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