Wilde Helps Engineering Students Step Up to the Challenge
March 1st, 2017
Each year, the University of Sheffield holds a week-long Global Engineering Challenge. Over a week, students have the chance to tackle real-world problems faced by developing communities, enabling them to put their engineering skills into practice and work as a team. As an alumni member, our Senior Engineer David Goley was invited to help the University’s first-year students participating in the event and found it a successful and rewarding experience all-round.
Our Senior Engineer David Goley was delighted to help out recently at the University of Sheffield’s annual Global Engineering Challenge. Together with other alumni, he was invited to spend a day with the first-year engineering students participating in the week-long project
The event is based on the Engineers Without Borders Challenge, a national competition for engineering undergraduates, and is designed to provide a taste of real challenges faced by professional engineers. Working in teams, students deal with a variety of real-life projects and are encouraged to think about questions such as how their decisions will impact on the people around them and throughout the world.
David Goley was one of a number of engineering alumni on hand to assess the students’ project work and provide feedback on areas where their designs could be improved. Below, he describes the day’s activities:
“The real-life projects were all centred on improving a town in Cameroon in a sustainable manner. They included challenges such as researching alternative fuel sources, designing new water and sanitation systems, re-designing the congested road network, monitoring pollution and reducing poaching.
“The 1,500 engineering students were split into 41 different hubs, with each hub containing around 36 students divided into groups of 5 or 6. In the morning session, each of the alumni were assigned a hub and rotated around its groups to discuss the students’ progress on their projects. This was a good opportunity for them to practise explaining their work in a simple and concise manner before entering the boardroom in the afternoon. I was impressed with the amount of research that the students had carried out, and how easily they were managing to work as part of a team.
“At lunchtime, there was also the opportunity for students to network with the engineering alumni and ask us questions about how to secure a career in engineering after university. I spoke to around 50 different students and gave them advice on what steps they can take during their degree to ensure that they get a good job following graduation. I explained that a summer placement at an engineering company is highly recommended, as is taking an active role in a club or society, for example, acting as treasurer or secretary.
“The afternoon session was held in the boardroom. Here, the 7 groups from a different hub presented their work to a panel of three (alumni member and two university staff). At the end of the presentation, the students were encouraged to give each other feedback on the presentation and ask questions on their proposal. The ten-minute presentations were of a good standard and all except one group presented without a script. After all the presentations, the panel then picked the most professional one and a prize was awarded.
“The Global Engineering Challenge has been running for 6 years and it is a great project to prepare the students for working in industry. It is also an excellent opportunity for alumni to promote engineering outside of their day-to-day job.”
To find out more about alumni volunteering opportunities at the University of Sheffield, please visit https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/alumni/volunteering