Students on Course for Career in Civil Engineering


Leamington Spa, 3rd August 2011:
From 25th to 28th July, thirty-four teenagers from across the UK have been learning about Civil Engineering and how it can save lives. Organised by educational charity, The Smallpeice Trust and working in partnership with STEM Sussex and the University of Brighton, students gained a valuable practical knowledge of the engineering challenges involved in disaster relief situations.

Over a four-day residential course students used state-of-the-art facilities including, a 20 metre wave flume, earthquake simulation table and water quality equipment to conduct tests. Working in small teams, the students competed against each other to design, build and test, a drinking water purification system, a breakwater and an earthquake resiliant tower. In order for the students to successfully complete these tasks they also learnt about the potential consequences of drinking contaminated water, different types of waves, as well as earthquakes and their effects on structures. At the end of the course the students presented their work as though they were bidding for a professional tender to a panel of professional and lay persons.

As well as working on the design, build and test elements of the projects, the students developed life skills such as teamwork, communication, problem solving, time management, finance and presentation. The social programme included a trip to a bowling alley, a film night and culminated in a fish and chip supper on Brighton Pier where students and supporting staff had the opportunity to socialise and share their experiences of the week.

Dr Heidi Burgess, Senior Lecturer in the School of Environment and Technology at the University of Brighton, said: ”The visiting students displayed a real enthusiasm for meeting challenges and solving problems and have the potential to be future civil engineers, addressing urgent global issues resulting from the effects of climate warming, over population etc.”

Spokesperson for The Smallpeice Trust, Gemma Murphy added, “Civil engineers have one of the world’s most important jobs. They build our quality of life. Thanks to STEM Sussex and the University of Brighton, we have been able to give budding engineers the chance to create solutions to real-world problems. We are confident that this type of activity will enthuse and encourage more young people to consider careers in civil engineering.”

The Civil Engineering course is run by independent charity, The Smallpeice Trust, and is part of an ongoing programme of residential courses to help young people aged 13 to 18 learn and develop skills in engineering, design, technology and manufacturing. Through running residential courses and STEM enrichment days, The Trust has reached out to 17,677 students across the UK in the past year.

The new course timetable for 2012 will be launched in the autumn school term. Places are allocated on a first come, first served basis. To find out more, visit, or telephone The Smallpeice Trust on 01926 333200.

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About The Smallpeice Trust:

The Smallpeice Trust is an independent charitable trust which promotes engineering as a career, primarily through the provision of residential courses for young people aged 13 to 18.

The Smallpeice Trust was founded in 1966 by Dr Cosby Smallpeice, a pioneering engineer and inventor of the Smallpeice Lathe. Following the stock market flotation of his company Martonair, Dr Smallpeice invested his energy and part of his personal fortune to set up the Trust to ensure that British industry could continuously benefit from his proven design and engineering philosophies: “Simplicity in design, economy in production.”

The Trust is now governed by an eminent board of non-executive trustees and members from a diverse range of engineering, industry, educational and professional bodies. In 2009/10, The Smallpeice Trust ran 30 residential courses for 1,700 school-aged students at universities across the country, with girls accounting for 38%. In addition, 15,977 students attended a Smallpeice in-school STEM masterclass.

University of Brighton:

The University of Brighton is a community of 21,000 students and 2,600 staff based on five campuses in Brighton, Eastbourne and Hastings. We have one of the best teaching quality ratings in the UK and a strong research record, factors which contribute to our reputation as a leading post-1992 university. The Faculty of Science and Engineering is the focus of teaching, research and social and economic engagement in mathematical sciences, computing, engineering, built environment, environmental and earth sciences, pharmacy, and natural and life sciences.

STEM Sussex works with schools and companies to promote enthusiasm in young people for the STEM subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. See for more information. Please contact STEM Sussex by email [email protected] or call 01273 644178.


Gemma Murphy
Head of Marketing and Development
Tel: 01926 333214
Fax: 01926 333202
Email: [email protected]

Claire Fisher
Marketing Support Officer
Tel: 01926 333203
Fax: 01926 333202
Email: [email protected]

The Smallpeice Trust is a company limited by guarantee, registered in England.
Company number 00882371.
Registered office: Holly House, 74 Upper Holly Walk, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire CV32 4JL. Registered Charity number 313719.

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