Elaine Maslin, 4th June 2012
Budding engineers from the north-east are set to jet off to Orlando, Florida, this month to take part in an international ROV (remotely operated vehicle) design challenge.
Teams from Robert Gordon’s College (RGC), Bucksburn Academy and Robert Gordon University won the trip after winning the Scottish regional finals of the competition, held by RGU.
The students have worked on their projects for the past six months, constructing ROVs from scratch to meet the competition brief of this year’s competition.
For the college and academy students, entering the Ranger Class of the competition, this was to evaluate the condition of WWII shipwrecks and determine what to do with any potentially hazardous material that remains on board them.
Using their ROVs, pupils completed various underwater mission tasks and technical reports in the RGU: SPORT swimming pool.
They were also assessed in engineering presentations and poster displays by professionals from companies including BP, Subsea 7, Canyon Offshore, Apache, Tritech and Stork Technical Services, who also helped mentor the teams.
RGU’s team won the Explorer class heat of the competition with their team Marine Ops.
Grant Maxwell, associate head of the school of engineering at RGU, said: “Every year we are impressed by the enthusiasm and ingenuity of the school pupils who show their abilities to problem solve, think critically and tackle problems in innovative ways.
“Competitions like these help young people see the practical applications of engineering and motivate them to study and pursue careers in this field. Some of our graduates who took part in previous years have subsequently gone on to work in the ROV industry as a direct result of this competition.”
The regional competition, the only one of its type in Europe, is co-ordinated each year by RGU in conjunction with the Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Centre in California, USA.
BP sponsored the Scottish regional final with OPITO, the skills body for the oil and gas industry, contributing prizes and hardware to the competition.
Aileen Thow, Skills and Learning Advisor, OPITO said: “This project allows pupils to learn how the STEM subjects studied in school can be applied in the workplace.
“The skills that they acquire and the experiences they gain, open their minds to the wealth of career opportunities available to them in the oil and gas industry.”
The winning teams will travel to the YMCA Aquatic and Family Center in Orlando, Florida for the world finals from June 21-23.
To see the RGU team’s entry go to http://rgumarineops.com/