School engineers stun industry bosses with problem-solving prowess

Pictured is a student working on a laser cutter at UTC Leeds 


In only their second term at Leeds’ newest school, teenage engineers are amazing bosses at some of Yorkshire’s most innovative companies.

Students at UTC Leeds, the first school in the Leeds City Region to provide high quality academic and technical training focused on the advanced engineering and high-tech manufacturing sector, are regularly tasked with solving real-life engineering problems.

One of the latest tasks saw students design and manufacture a prototype Bluetooth speaker for Sound Leisure, one of the last two remaining jukebox manufacturers in the world.

“We asked the students to come up with their own design and gave them the component parts to work with,” said Catherine Black, at Leeds-based Sound Leisure, which is one of more than 60 partners at the new £11m school.

“We’re passionate about creativity and tried to keep the brief as loose as possible to get the students excited. The results are astonishing. Not only have the students designed a high tech speaker, they’ve created a stunning piece of furniture which wouldn’t look out of place in the most elegant of homes.

“As a family business, our links with the local community and especially with schools, is paramount to our success. Manufacturing, for many years, was portrayed by politicians and the media as being the poor relative to banking and call centres.

“Thankfully this is changing and schools like UTC Leeds, in partnership with employers, are opening up a world of opportunity for young people.”

Students have also been solving problems for Unilever, another industry partner.

“During a visit to the Leeds factory, students were told that gritters on the site had encountered problems and were struggling to distribute grit due to a difference in height between the silo and spreader,” said UTC principal Mark Kennedy.

“The students got to work and re-engineered the silo and spreader using CAD drawing and 3D printers. They’ve come up with solutions and presented them to Unilever.”

Students are about to embark on another project with Agfa Graphics which will get them thinking creatively about heat transfer and environmental solutions.

UTC Leeds helps 14-18 year olds get on the right path towards exciting and rewarding careers in engineering and industry.

The innovative, high-quality education combines technical, practical and academic learning and the curriculum has been set up with the support of the partner companies and the University of Leeds.

Year 10 and Year 12 students who are interested in joining the school in September are invited to an Open Day event on March 1 at UTC Leeds. Employers, students and teachers will be on hand to discuss the opportunities and how to apply.

For more information about UTC Leeds visit and download a prospectus or call 0113 353 0140 for more details about the forthcoming open evening.


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