TTP challenged the students to produce a short video analysing the ergonomics and usability of objects from everyday life. Successful applicants attended a STEM outreach day at their site in Melbourn, where they experienced what it is like to be a technology consultant and how the development of products and technology can change lives.
The students worked collaboratively to brainstorm, create and refine prototypes for an innovative syringe design to be used in fat-grafting reconstructive surgery. Their ideas ranged from operating the syringe via a foot pump to minimise pressure on the wrist, to controlling flow rate using a gear in a similar way to a pipette filler, and a high-tech syringe with controls inspired by the variable temperature/speed settings on hairdryers.
TTP consultants from across the organisation took part in the activity day to talk to students about the surgical procedure and provided them with guidance throughout the day. The six students that most impressed the volunteers with the quality of their project work and their teamwork, creativity and presentation skills were selected to attend the Scholars prize trip that will take place in July, alongside Year 12 students from other schools and colleges that are taking part in Cambridge LaunchPad.
Ruby Barnard, Year 12 student at Comberton Sixth Form, said “I was really excited to take part in Cambridge LaunchPad as I’m interested in Science and I wanted to find out more about different STEM subjects. It was great to be able to get hands-on and build the prototypes and find out more about the different types of career paths and job opportunities available in STEM. For example, I didn’t know that you could study Physics at University but then get involved in a career where you could still learn about Biology and other sciences.“
David Jones, Head of Science at Long Road Sixth Form College, said: “Cambridge LaunchPad project days offer an eye-opening opportunity to raise students’ awareness of the vast range of science and technology work in the Cambridge area. This will be an experience they will be able to build on in their career progression – whether they go into employment, undertake an apprenticeship or pursue a degree once they leave college.“
Dr Carolyn Meadows, Science Teacher and BTEC Co-ordinator at Comberton Sixth Form, said: “Cambridge LaunchPad has given the students a fantastic opportunity to experience project design based on a real-life scenario, from identifying the issues with existing equipment to evaluating their prototypes. Our students have been given an insight into a field of scientific application that we cannot offer in the classroom. I am sure the students will have gained a huge amount from today and will talk to their peers enthusiastically about their experience."
Adrian Hillier, Consultant at TTP Group, said: “TTP is delighted to be supporting the Scholars group in a very direct way. It’s important for high-tech industries to actively promote Higher Education STEM in a way that is both inspiring and engaging. We can’t just tell young men and women that STEM careers are super-exciting. They need a chance to see it for themselves! Cambridge LaunchPad provides us with a gender-balanced platform to do exactly that.”
Dr Abi Graham, an experimental physicist at TTP Group, said: “Creating successful new products at TTP relies on having a strong team of diverse people with very different skills, personalities and ways of thinking – and that’s so in keeping with the goals of LaunchPad to improve the gender balance in STEM, but also to increase the appeal of STEM careers to young people who may not have previously thought of themselves as “science-types” or “engineering-types. We think that our Launchpad challenge has been a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate the power of engineering and physics in creating biotechnology and medical products for the future, fields which are not what people usually think of when they hear engineering and physics.”
Anna Aldred, STEM Outreach and Cambridge LaunchPad Project Manager from Form the Future CIC, said “The opportunity for these students to have a day in the life of a technology consultant is one that they have never had before, and would have been unlikely to have got whilst in Sixth Form if it hadn’t been for Cambridge LaunchPad. Today has shown one of the key LaunchPad missions, to demonstrate new careers in STEM to young people and to provide them with opportunities that they would not have been able to access on their own. LaunchPad Founding Partner, TTP Group, have done a fantastic job of designing and delivering an engaging, exciting and educational day for these Year 12 students from sixth form colleges across Cambridgeshire.”