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Creative talent undaunted by lockdown as TDI Challenge showcases spirit of innovation

The Manufacturing Technologies Association’s (MTA) flagship Technology, Design and Innovation (TDI) Challenge competition for young secondary school entrepreneurial STEM students went ahead utilising the latest digital technologies. What a fantastic tribute to the indomitable spirit of both the young engineers and indeed the staff and industry expert judges in the MTA’s Membership.

This year the innovative students had to work entirely from home during the lockdown, challenging their creativity more than ever. Acknowledging these unprecedented times, judges threw the competition open to all young people aged 16-19 – creating a single category rather than split by age group.

Not surprisingly, that decision was rewarded, with high quality entries flooding in online. Judging normally carried out by entry study, interviews and for finalists the chance to exhibit at MAZAK in Worcester, the largest manufacturer of advanced machine tools in the UK, had of course, to be also carried out entirely virtually.

Stewart Lane of Renishaw PLC, Chair of the MTA Education and Development Committee and Chair of the TDI judging panel, said: “The standard of entries this year has been very high and one comment that has come out is that every submission has had a good online explanation of the project and the quality of the videos and work submitted is a credit to everyone who has entered.”

The judges were delighted to announce their winners as:

  • 1st Place - Ria Bacharach - King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Girls in Birmingham - The HockeyHand prosthesis - designed to help amputees overcome the barriers they face when playing hockey.
  • 2nd Place - Ella Nichols - Kew House School in London – A manufactured dress that grows and shrinks 13 sizes, fitting ages 3-16.
  • 3rd Place - Lydia Reid - Haberdashers' Aske's School for Girls in Elstree, Hertfordshire – A student desk light with emphasis on sustainability and powering the future.
  • ‘Highly commended’ - William Pickering and Liam Jones - The de Ferrers Academy Sixth Form in Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire – The goal was to provide a cost-efficient system capable of providing high quality aerial photos of a terrain, to be taken for automated (coded) analysis.

As well as prizes for each of the top three, the schools were also awarded money through Technology Supplies to purchase D&T equipment and help continue their development of their young engineers.