An Invaluable Head-Start for the Next Generation

Testing the circuit for the Land Rover Challenge with help from Stewart Capel, Technical Quality Manager, Active-PCB Solutions.

Kyle learns to test his circuit with help from Stewart Capel, Technical Quality Manager, Active-PCB Solutions.

Advanced engineering has an important role in modern economies. It is critical to sustain growth, which is vital for all members of society. But as technology continues to move forward, making further advances becomes increasingly difficult. That’s why activities like the Land Rover 4×4 in Schools Technology Challenge are extremely valuable, helping future generations gain a head-start in acquiring the skills and experience they will need to maintain the pace of progress.

Active-PCB Solutions has been pleased to support a team from a local senior school taking part in the 4×4 Challenge. Team “Supergrediatur” which means “goes beyond” in Latin, was tasked with the design and build of a radio-controlled, four-wheel drive model vehicle that displays Land Rover’s all-terrain characteristics. The team of 5 students managed roles of electronics design, marketing and logistics.

Our Technical Quality Manager, Stewart Capel, helped the young head of electronics, Kyle, to design the vehicle’s electronics, including tilt sensors, visible/audible alerts, and automatic head and tail lamps. While the rules encouraged the teams to research and seek guidance from all available sources, Kyle presented his original design ideas and built the electronics himself. With Stewart’s help, particularly in terms of engineering development and circuit design, he has learned about electronic design, component selection, testing, and assembly techniques.

Following the regional heats, team “Supergrediatur” was chosen for the national final at Jaguar Land Rover’s Gaydon Centre for Engineering on March 27. In the final, the team successfully negotiated a tough course conceived to test the vehicle’s electronics to the limit, and also gave a verbal presentation to the panel of judges from Jaguar Land Rover.

Challenges like this give young people a tremendous opportunity to benefit from experiences they would otherwise probably not encounter until later, having left school. All the team members have learned how to conceptualise, refine their ideas to create an achievable product, and communicate their solutions to a knowledgeable audience. These, as well as other aspects such as cooperating and coordinating as part of a team, are skills they are sure to find extremely valuable in the future – even if they decide not to choose a career in technology.

From our point of view, at Active-PCB, our investment in the project has been well worthwhile. Businesses today have an important role to fulfil in helping to educate future generations, and we are delighted to have had the opportunity to support team “Supergrediatur” in the 4×4 Challenge. We also work regularly with schools in the local Reading area to help older pupils gain the work experience they need to help them progress into employment. Only a few will choose careers related to technology or business, but all can gain more immersive experience of skills such as teamwork, organisation and presentation than is possible through other channels such as the Internet or television.

Congratulations to Team “Supergrediatur” on achieving an outstanding result. We look forward to continuing to help enthusiastic youngsters gain experiences that will help them realise their full potential.