The annual Technology Tournament, organised by the Rotary Club of Huntingdon, has grown in popularity and, for the first time in ten years, all of Huntingdon’s seven secondary schools sent teams to compete in the challenge, which was hosted by St Ivo Academy this year.

The Tournament, sponsored by Urban&Civic, is held on a single day with the students challenged to design, build and demonstrate a completed machine in about five hours, with no prior knowledge of the task.  This year the teams were asked to build a flashing beacon that was capable of giving a large number of flashes without being touched after it was set going. They were provided with a kit of parts including wooden rods, stiff card, light bulb, batteries and a range of other smaller items.

There were three different levels of difficulty to cater for students from Key Stages 3, 4 and 5 - designated Foundation, Intermediate and Advanced. The teams were assessed by a team of judges throughout the day and were awarded points for planning, teamwork and development of a solution as well as building and demonstrating the final machine. The winning teams each received an engraved trophy, a cash prize for their school and individual certificates.

The Deputy Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire, Dr Andy Harter CBE, attended the event and handed out awards to the winning teams. He expressed his appreciation of the effort the teams had put into designing and building their machines and encouraged the students to consider a career in the well paid sphere of engineering.

This year’s Tournament was also attended by the Rotary District Governor, Rodney Spokes, who took the opportunity to discuss the event with the teachers and the students. He congratulated the Rotary Club of Huntingdon on the excellent organisation and delivery and commented that it was great to see the Club undertaking such successful community service.

Roy White from the Rotary Club of Huntingdon said: “The students really look forward to the event and find the task challenging but enjoyable. The chance to build a machine from scratch and the element of competition provide an experience that they rarely find within the school curriculum. The feedback from the teachers and students has been very positive and makes all of the work involved very worthwhile.”

The winning teams in the three categories were from three different schools:

Foundation: Abbey College, Ramsey

Nick Gilbert, Owen Porthouse and Mackenzie Hindshaw Crick

Intermediate: Sawtry Village Academy

Max Smith, Billie Gardiner, Jacob McCaffrey and Zoe Etherington

Advanced: St Ivo Academy

Hollie Carter, Gabija Gailiunaite, Luke Millar and Jack Moore

Victoria Denny-Morley, Skills Lead for Urban&Civic, said: “Skills development, especially in the construction industry, is a core priority for Alconbury Weald and the wider Cambridgeshire area and it’s fantastic to be able to inspire students through innovative approaches like the Rotary Club’s technology tournament.  Supporting projects like this is vital, and it is important that the next generation know about the career opportunities on their doorstep.”