HMS Bulwark host Race for the Line STEM event

HMS Bulwark hosted 131 children, from 11 schools across the southwest to compete in the regional finals of the Race for the Line STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) event.

Twenty ambassadors from both the RN and Babcock joined the Ships’ Company to ensure that it was a memorable and safe day for all the children that attended.

The competition is intended to inspire tomorrow’s engineers and scientists under the national STEM initiative aimed at increasing the take-up of students studying science, technology, engineering & mathematics to inspire them to go onto engineering linked careers.

With the day was hosted within HMS Bulwark’s Vehicle Deck and Well Dock, and it gave the children a sense of what it is like to work within one of the great engineering challenges facing the RN and Babcock today.

After a quick safety brief and warm welcome the STEM ambassadors split the children into two groups, one group making their way onto the jetty to visit a RS components impressive Titan 2 display truck and the other half began to build their rocket cars.

Inspired by the life-size Bloodhound Land Speed Record attempt vehicle, the children used foam to carve and shape their cars. 

This a perfect place, in a warship, to show students the environment that they might work in as an engineer and give them a practical challenge

Captain Nigel Fergusson RN, Head of Engineering Devonport Flotilla

With only one hour to design and build each car the school children had to take into account weight, aerodynamics, shape and even wheel design. With guidance from RN engineers the cars began to slowly take shape.

On the jetty RS components provided their Titan 2 display truck, which was filled with the latest in technology and innovation.

On board the Titan 2 there was the opportunity to get grips with robotics, virtual reality, 3D printing, Computer Aided Design (CAD) and gaming, with the view of inspiring the young engineers and scientist of the future.

Once both groups had swapped and all cars were built, there was time for lunch before heading down to the Well Dock to begin the racing.

The rocket cars were projected along a wire for 15 metres by a small rocket propellant. The joint winning teams were Churston Ferrers Grammar School and Torbridge High, Plymouth, with a time of 36.4 milliseconds or 60mph.

The regional finals will forward the top 40 teams from the initial 18,000 national competitors, who will be invited to the National Final in RAF Wittering on 28 June. 

Captain Nigel Fergusson RN, Devonport Flotilla Head of Engineering, said, “This a perfect place, in a warship, to show students the environment that they might work in as an engineer and give them a practical challenge.

"There are more engineers than any other specialisation in the Navy and they work in challenging places worldwide with complex interacting systems. This represents great job satisfaction and there can’t be anything more rewarding as a career.’’