‘Big Rig’ STEM challenge in full swing at Northampton College

It encourages students to explore science, technology, engineering and maths careers

Monday, 4th July 2022, 3:57 pm

Northampton College is currently hosting its annual low carbon challenge for students across the county.

This year, different groups of young people have been installing a solar-powered hot water system each day since last week, and this will continue until Thursday (July 7).

The aim is to encourage students from year 10 and 11 across Northamptonshire to consider further education and careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

The challenge encourages students to explore science, technology, engineering and maths careers.

Patrick Leavey deputy principal at Northampton College said: “We want young people to understand the leverage of climate change, and the oil and gas industry.

“This challenge focuses the minds of these young people, who we know are already tuned into environmental issues.

“It falls upon us as teachers and educators to enhance their knowledge and skills, and help to work towards solutions.”

Each session is made up of two teams of up to eight students, and they are required to design and install the system.

The challenge encourages students to explore science, technology, engineering and maths careers.

This will set them up with skills in rain water harvesting, and producing electricity and hot water in a more eco-friendly way.

“This is a full scale plumbing and electrical system, which the students have to work on from scratch,” said Mr Leavey.

For the students reaching the end of their secondary school education, it allows them to put the science knowledge into practice.

As well as this, they are being disciplined in health and safety, and sticking to the job role they have been assigned like they would in the industry.

The challenge encourages students to explore science, technology, engineering and maths careers.

Northampton College is hoping to tackle the issue of fewer females wanting to enter a STEM career, or study it at further education.

Mr Leavey said: “We encourage all schools to send an equal mix of male and female students to take part, and we want to drive diversity and inclusion.”

The college reaches out to schools about this project as part of its ‘Ignite the Spark’ program – which encourages 14- and 15-year-olds to visit their local further education college, and see the vocational and technical courses they offer.

The ‘Big Rig’ runs annually as one of the end-of-year practical sessions, which are fun and allow students to explore the practicalities of theoretical concepts in teams.