The Inaugural Arkwright Engineering Summer School

18 September 2019

This year saw the inaugural Arkwright Summer School take place in Manchester with the theme of Nuclear Energy. The Summer School invited 30 Scholars to stay at the University of Manchester, where they had the opportunity to experience life in University accommodation and take part in educational activities alongside like-minded individuals. Scholars visited the Heysham Nuclear Power Station and the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre where they could contextualise their learning and speak with working professionals.

Over the week Scholars were also introduced to Professors and Graduates who volunteered their time to deliver presentations, offering an insight into the working life of the Nuclear sector along with demonstrating the variety of routes available to our Scholars as young, aspiring engineers. In our aim to inspire and nurture the country’s future leaders of the Engineering profession, it is imperative our Scholars are aware of the multiple pathways available to them at this stage as they take the next steps towards their future and career.

After the success of these 4 days and as part of Smallpeice’s ongoing commitment to Scholar enrichment, we will be introducing more summer schools in the coming years as we look to double the number of Scholars over the next five years.

Arkwright Engineering Scholar Charlie Johnson tells us more about his experience at the Summer School and his highlight of the week…

The Summer School began with the 28 scholars set to work ordering pictures to make a nuclear fuel cycle, giving us a fantastic insight into the stages before, during and after materials had been used.

The following day, we went to the University of Manchester and participated in various experiments alongside PhD students. This included computerised analysis of rocks using radiation patterns to determine the radioactive elements present in the different samples!

My absolute highlight of the trip came on the Wednesday when we visited Heysham Nuclear Power Station which was incredible! Not only were the areas covered earlier on the course contextualised, but also explained in greater detail. The guides were a fantastic source of knowledge and everyone left the site feeling far more informed on the practical side of a Nuclear Power Station. The size of the generator seen from the viewing platform was awe-inspiring and something that I will never forget!

On the last day, we all went to the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in Sheffield. We went on a tour of the site and stepped inside their Virtual Reality room. I found their role in developing ideas from academia into concepts easier for business’ particularly interesting as it is a crucial part in allowing the nuclear industry in the United Kingdom to continue to develop and thrive!