Engineering shines as vital sector for the region at STEM challenge launch

Mid Sussex is rapidly emerging as a hub for engineering, as highlighted at the launch of this year's Mid Sussex STEM challenge.

At the heart of this year's challenge lies the task of designing a hovercraft capable of lifting half a kilo and completing a circuit around Borde Hill's South Lawn. The launch event, held in the Mid Sussex District Council Chamber, saw the participation of students from local secondary schools, supported by cabinet members from Mid Sussex District Council, town Mayors, the local MP, and the Vice Lord-Lieutenant of West Sussex.

Nick Green, Director at Flowserve introduced the event and Jeremy Crooks, STEM Ambassador, responsible for judging and guiding the project's design, emphasised the essential elements students must explore lift, motors, thrust, fins, steering, and the preparation of presentations for Sussex University professors and hovercraft experts. The endeavour is supported by engineering and medical companies Thales, Conti Engineering, Flowserve, PSM Marine Engineering, Adelphi, Nuffield Hospital, Bike Smart, Edwards, and Balfour Beatty. Each company will assign a STEM Ambassador to collaborate with the nine participating secondary schools.

Ruth de Mierre, Chairman of Haywards Heath Town Team, shed light on the rationale behind initiating the STEM Challenge: "Research shows that, in the South East, we'll need at least 30,000 engineers a year; so, when our Haywards Heath Town Team heard of the skills required by many local companies we, with their support, set up our STEM Challenge to inspire our students with the diverse opportunities and excitement which could be their future." 

The engineering sector not only significantly contributes to the local economy but also opens a wide spectrum of opportunities for aspiring professionals. Globally, the UK manufacturing industry ranks 8th by value output, further accentuating the pivotal role of engineering in the region's landscape.

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