Young coders triumph in engineering challenge final held at Land Rover BAR base in Portsmouth hosted by the 1851 Trust


The national final of the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s (IET) engineering challenge for young people was held on Wednesday 12 July at the Land Rover BAR base in Portsmouth and hosted by the team’s charity, the 1851 Trust, where five school teams from across the UK battled it out to be coding champions.

After winning regional heats previously in the year, school teams from London, Cornwall, Bromsgrove and Suffolk attended the IET Faraday Challenge Days National Final at Land Rover BAR with Hammersmith Academy, London announced as the winners. They secured £1,000 for their school.

Land Rover BAR is the British America’s Cup team led by 4-times Olympic gold medalist, Sir Ben Ainslie. The IET partnered with the team’s official charity, the 1851 Trust, which promotes STEM education for young people for this season’s challenge. Teams were asked to develop two prototypes using a BBC micro:bit computer, to improve the performance of the Land Rover BAR sailing team.

David Lakin, IET Education Manager, said: “This year’s IET Faraday season has been one of the largest ever with over 4,500 students taking part across the UK. The quality of the student’s work throughout has been fantastic and it was an extremely close final – I’d like to congratulate Hammersmith Academy on their win!

“Students who have taken part in the Faraday Challenge Days this year have experienced working as an engineer through hands-on and practical engagement with real-life challenges in the hope that this will give them an insight into the life of a real engineer, the variety a career in engineering can offer and the central role it plays in our everyday lives. It’s also been fantastic working with the Land Rover BAR team, and the 1851 Trust on this.”

Ben Cartledge, CEO of the 1851 Trust added “We’ve been really impressed by the finalists and what they have developed to support Land Rover BAR across a range of challenge areas.  Our online free resource, BT STEM Crew is a great extension to this work, providing insight to the wider STEM challenges faced by the team, linked closely to the national curriculum.  We’re looking forward to continuing this successful partnership with the IET”

The team from Hammersmith Academy presented the Sky Sail which is a device that measures the angle of the wind and trims the sail automatically to that angle. The team was made up of 4 girls and 2 boys.

Team member from Hammersmith Academy said: “This helped me open my eyes on the world more and helped me see things differently.”

Team member from City of London School said: “It is really enjoyable. The challenge leaders are great. I enjoyed the challenge and that there was an aim to achieve.”

Team member from Samuel Ward Academy simply said: “B-R-I-L-L-I-A-N-T.”

Teacher, Ms Lauren Ferrell from Hammersmith Academy added: “The kids have never had such a big opportunity and their confidence has grown phenomenally over the past few weeks. They loved every single moment and have developed a strong bond. I will most definitely be in touch for future interactions with the IET.”

Teacher, Mr Rico Robinson-Young from Hammersmith Academy added: “We are elated for our students, this experience means so much to them (even more than they can possible comprehend at their young age). Two had to present again to an audience of parents upon arrival [back at school], this was one of the proudest moments I have felt in my teaching career.”

One-hundred and forty school and sponsored events took place across the UK to host the 2016-17 IET Faraday Challenge Days. Up to six teams of local school students competed at each event to find the best solution to an engineering-related challenge. A total of 4,710 students took part across the UK.

The events aim to encourage more young people to study and consider exciting and rewarding careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) by using creativity, innovation and problem-solving skills.

The Faraday Challenge Days are part of a wider Faraday education programme, made up of a whole host of teaching resources and activities to inspire and attract the engineers of tomorrow. To find out more information, please visit

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