YEDT 2017 Final Report

The Young Engineer, Design & Technologist competition (YEDT) was held at the Discovery Museum, Newcastle, on 6 July 2017

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YEDT is a collaborative venture between the Rotary Club of Hexham, The STEM initiative (Northumbria University) and the Friends of the Discovery Museum. Both of our collaborators are looking to encourage young people to take-up careers in the YEDT subjects, an aim which of course is also supported by ourselves. The STEM initiative is particularly keen on encouraging young women into such subjects. The competition is part of Rotary's commitment, at the national level, to encouraging young people to fulfil their potential and to advancing vocational areas such as engineering and design.


The Discovery Museum itself plays a major role, hosting the event, and providing the café for the all-important social interaction. Thomas Elwick organised the setting both on the day and in the months leading up to the event and provided Discovery Trail leaflets for the students.


All four bodies coordinate their activities through a steering group, which met four times to plan the event, with Nick Rossiter (Hexham Rotary Club) as chair. Others serving on the group were: Graham Bradshaw, John Chaney, Chris Watson (Friends of Discovery Museum), Alison Pickard (NUSTEM, Northumbria University), Thomas Elwick (Discovery Museum), Roger Abraham (also Hexham Rotary Club).

The event was held on 6 July at the Discovery Museum, Newcastle. The number of entries was lower than the very high total in 2016, being 15 students from 4 schools with 6 from Discovery School, Newcastle, 4 from Sacred Heart Catholic High School, Fenham, 4 from Duchess's Community High School, Alnwick, 1 from Ponteland High School. By age class there were 9 A-level, 6 GCSE, 0 11-13.


Registration was done by Nick Rossiter (Hexham Rotary Club) with a laptop and printer so that last minute changes in entries could be readily recorded and clean spreadsheets distributed to judges without manual annotations.


The judges are listed on a separate page.


The quality of entries was very high with consistent attempts at justification of their methods. Nick Rossiter took photographs of all exhibits, accompanied by their exhibitors, and of all winners, which are on separate pages.


Lunch vouchers totalled 45, going to students, teachers, judges and helpers. The face value was increased to £6 from £5 to reflect inflation.


The prize winners are listed below, with a total of £750 from Hexham Rotary Club and the other sponsors:


School Team 1st prize: Sacred Heart Catholic High School, Fenham £250

School Team 2nd prize: Discovery School, Newcastle £150


Rotary Shield, overall individual winner, Rubie Henderson, Discovery School, Newcastle £50

A-level 1st prize: Courtney Swain, Duchess's Community High School, Alnwick £100

A-level 2nd prize: Joe Dumphy, Discovery School, Newcastle £50

GCSE 1st prize: Rubie Henderson, Discovery School, Newcastle £100

GCSE 2nd prize: Niamh Boyle, Sacred Heart Catholic High School, Fenham £50

All other entrants received certificates, recording their valued contribution to the competition. 

Friends of the Discovery Museum prize:

Students Award: Sophia Atkins, Sacred Heart Catholic High School, Fenham £50

At the award ceremony, Carolyn Ball, manager of the Discovery Museum gave the welcome and Jonathan Sanderson (Outreach Specialist - Digital & Maker, NUSTEM, Northumbria University) gave the keynote address, emphasising upcoming skills in great demand of creativity and innovation. Richard Nelson (Past President, Hexham Rotary Club) presented the Rotary Club prizes and Ian Burdon presented the Friends of the Discovery Museum prize. Nick Rossiter chaired the session.

Perhaps emphasising the lower number of entries in like competitions everywhere this year, Colin Wilkinson (Big Bang, North-East England organiser) attended and reviewed our entries. He selected six for going forward to the North-East England final selection for the UK-wide event:

From Duchess’s Community High School, Alnwick: Matthew Cook, Courtney Swain.

From Discovery School, Newcastle: Joe Dumphy, Rubie Henderson.

From Ponteland High School: Elaine Newton.

From Sacred Heart Catholic High School, Fenham: Niamh Boyle.

Colin Wilkinson started his email after the event with: “I was very impressed with how smoothly it ran, and with the quality of the entries. I will contact the teachers to explain what happens next with the nomination process to the Big Bang UK Fair, and will copy you into that email.”

Colin Wilkinson also awarded three trophies: Matthew Cook, for workmanship; Joe Dumphy, for creativity; Niamh Boyle, for use of materials.

All in all, 12 of the 15 students entered either won an individual prize, were in the winning school team or received some recognition. Overall it was a very stimulating event for all concerned.

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