Bringing epic engineering to primary schools

Babcock graduates were involved in an innovative initiative to enthral and engage primary school children in engineering across the UK. Tasked with highlighting the scale and excitement of the new UK aircraft carriers to school pupils, Babcock graduates Jennifer McGinley and Jamie Beidgefoot worked closely with expert designer Alf Ramsay to create a flat-pack model of the HMS Queen Elizabeth.

The model was designed according to the same principles that were applied in constructing the ship itself, and so the pupils were able to get an understanding of the scope and complexity of the work. Babcock International is a partner of the Aircraft Carrier Alliance (ACA), along with Thales, BAE Systems and the MOD – and ACA Ambassadors visited the schools involved to offer some expert advice when the time came to bring the blocks together to make a complete ship.

To take up the challenge, each school operated like a mini ACA – with different classes working as separate companies to begin with and then coming together to coordinate the final assembly.

Meanwhile, secondary school pupils had to handle a bigger challenge – not only building a complete model, but also using their maths skills to calculate the volume of each block and then the volume of the final, finished ship – all before HMS Queen Elizabeth’s official naming ceremony in July 2015.

My proudest achievement so far with Babcock is from the naming ceremony of HMS Queen Elizabeth. We did a school engagement project, where we encouraged pupils all across the UK to build their own part of an aircraft carrier. I designed this from scratch, and more than 2000 pupils from 23 schools across the country took part.

Jennifer McGinley, Mechanical Engineer