Bishop Auckland students have been stepping up to the challenge of producing designs for the UK’s only manufacturer of washing machines.
Newton Aycliffe-based Ebac, which is developing a production line to start manufacturing the appliances from Spring 2014, invited design and technology students from St John’s RC School and Sixth Form College to come up with their own designs.
The project resulted in 12 Year 8 students visiting Ebac on Aycliffe Business Park to present the results of their work to management and designers from the County Durham manufacturer.
Among the panel were designer Clyde Pittaway, who trained as a design and technology teacher at the school, and managing director Pamela Petty.
Clyde said: “Young people’s creative work tends to be a lot less prohibited by potential practical barriers, so it has been hugely interesting to see what they have come up with and to consider how the designs could translate into reality.
“Ideas have ranged from some interesting aesthetic designs to such innovations as using Smart Phones to set programmes. We may not take all of the ideas and designs into final production, but the work of the St John’s students certainly gives inspirational food for thought.”
Pamela added: “It has been exciting to see the enthusiasm of the students who have taken part in this project.
“Having attended the recent EEF conference and heard politicians such as Vince Cable, Ed Balls and Michael Heseltine talking about girls being less engaged in mechanical engineering, it was particularly pleasing to see the way female students embraced the project.
“It is also important that young people do get enthusiastic about engineering, to ensure there is a strong pool of talent for the industry in the future.
“When it comes to making products, ideas can come from everywhere and from anyone, and what we have seen from these students could well feed into that process.”
Lindsey Hillyard, teacher at St John’s RC School and Sixth Form College, said: “It has been a great experience for the students to learn more about manufacturing and engineering from this project.
“They have seen what goes on behind the scenes to make a product work, and that has been very inspiring for the students.”