Foundation Apprentices create drone

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Budding engineers on an apprenticeship programme at New College Lanarkshire are flying high in their studies – after building a fully functioning drone.

The S5 pupils, from schools across North Lanarkshire, are in their first year of the Foundation Apprenticeship programme in Engineering, a Skills Development Scotland initiative aimed at getting school pupils ahead in industry while still at school.

As part of the programme, the apprentices have been learning how to use industry-leading 3D design software to produce initial drone concept prototypes. They also worked through an electronic design phase, developing practical skills in electronic assembly. The drone was then manufactured using 3D printers in the College.

Since its inception, the drone has been on a number of test flights on the college grounds, reaching speeds of up to 160 miles per hour.

The project is now being entered into the regional Airgineers STEM challenge in the Summer – requiring secondary school pupils to design, build and fly their own drone.

Steven Hewitt, Curriculum and Quality Leader for Electrical, Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering at the College, said: “The Foundation Apprenticeship programme is linked directly to industry, with many industrial partners participating in supporting placement opportunities, industry visits, talks and challenges.

“Clansman Dynamics and Castle Precision are two of the industry partners who have delivered talks to the group, providing an overview of industry, the work in which each company is engaged, and the type of opportunities that could be available in the future for apprentices.

“The FA Engineering group have been working on a drone project which engages the apprentices in design, electrical/electronic engineering and mechanical engineering.

“The project allows the integration of the practical with the theory, making the skills development more enjoyable and challenging.”

Foundation Apprenticeships rely on employer partnerships to provide work placements and industry insights to give pupils a taster of what their careers could include.

The group undertook a number of industry site visits throughout the Easter holidays, to partner organisations including Clansman Dynamics, Castle Precision, Honeywell and IODS Pipe Clad, for a range of demonstrations and talks.

New College Lanarkshire offers six Foundation Apprenticeship programmes in Creative and Digital Media, Engineering, IT, Science and Social Services. The programmes are developed by Skills Development Scotland to help young people gain valuable, real-world work experience and access work-based learning while still at school.

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