Gadget Show's Jason Bradbury drops in at Newcastle company KMF to present prizes to young engineers
STUDENTS Ben Walker and Cameron Forrest have beaten off competition from more than 600 young people to be named Young Engineers of the Year.
They were judged the winners of the under 14 and under 16 categories respectively in the competition launched by Newcastle engineering specialists KMF (Precision Sheet Metal).
Ben, aged 13, of Chell Heath, used graphics and logos from his favourite computer game Kingdom Hearts in his designs after being challenged to create and make a clock and packaging.
His prototype was the only 24-hour clock to be entered in the competition, which attracted 604 entries from 18 schools.
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Ben, who attends Ormiston Horizon Academy in Tunstall, said: "I used two cogs in my design. I'd seen a 24-hour clock and decided I wanted to make something like it for the competition."
After spending a couple of weeks getting the design of the clock right, Ben embarked on creating his prototype. As part of his prize, his model was professionally produced by the team at KMF.
Ben was also presented with an iPad at a ceremony held at the Britannia Stadium hosted by TV presenter Jason Bradbury of The Gadget Show. Ben's dad Daniel added: "Ben is really interested in technology and loves the hands-on side of creating things."
The inspiration for Cameron's clock design came to him while he was doing one of the things he loves most – listening to music.
His clock takes on the shape of his Beat headphones which he was given as a surprise birthday gift. It includes a wall bracket.
Cameron, left, aged 15, of Madeley High School, said: "It took me a while to perfect the design and then about three weeks to make it. It was harder than I thought it would be. I would consider an apprenticeship now."
His mum Clare, of Loggerheads, said: "I'm very proud of Cameron as all the clocks made by the finalists were very good. Cameron just based his ideas on something he loves – his music."
Jason, who is heading up a new series for Channel Five this year called Motor Morphers, said he was keen to support KMF's competition because he believes engineering is an exciting industry to work in.
He said: "I was so pleased to be part of the event. My dad was a manufacturer and so I was brought up around the same type of machines that are in use at KMF.
"We hear these sayings that Great Britain used to be great and that we have let it go a bit but the thing is, it's coming back again and it's thanks to competitions like this.
"The medicine that is going to cure cancer is engineering, the computer games we all love is engineering, the sports performance we all aspire to is engineering.
"We need ideas and we need skills and it's an exciting area for young people and an exciting time to get involved."
Gareth Higgins, KMF's managing director, thanked teachers from schools across Staffordshire for getting involved in the competition.
He said: "It was really inspiring to see so many young people enter the competition. We struggle to get the right calibre of young people in our business at times yet we get lots of applications.
"If they don't show the right aptitude and willingness to learn, and they don't have the grades in their maths and science, then they struggle to complete our apprenticeship. We've got to nurture the skills from a young age."
Paul Farrelly, MP for Newcastle, said: "KMF in Newcastle is at the cutting edge of engineering and its great to see them encouraging young people into apprenticeships and recruiting young talent."