Project of the Year Award for Altec Apprentice Engineer

Date Added 27/11/2013

The recent “Apprentice Project of the Year Award” at Hartlepool College of Further Education clearly demonstrated that today’s apprentices have a passion for engineering and innovation. Over 70 students from a combination of ONC and HNC courses competed for the award which was won this year by Altec Engineering apprentice Jack Dixon.

Jack completed the Level 3 Diploma in Engineering at the college last year with a high grade profile. Part of the qualification required completing an engineering project during the second year, culminating in a ‘project presentation day’ where all of the students present their designs to a mixed audience. Staff and students from Hartlepool College along with visitors, mainly managers from industry, tour the exhibits to listen to the student’s presentation and ask questions relating to their project. Visitors and staff were then asked to vote for the best project, measured against several criteria which included:

·         Presentation skills

·         Enthusiasm

·         Originality with the design/product

·         Functionality (does the end product work?)

There were four categories; HNC Mechanical / Manufacturing, HNC Electrical / Electronic, HNC Instrumentation and Level 3 Engineering. Jack was in the Level 3 category and won comfortably with high scores against each of the measurement criteria. In total there was separate 72 projects on show and Jack received 18 votes. The second highest was 6 votes in one of the HNC categories.

Jack’s project was based upon a self-replenishing vehicle screen washer system which uses ducting to collect rain water from the area below the windscreen and feed it through a filtration system which will remove pollutants and dirt. The filtered water is then used to replenish the screen washer reservoir and once full an overflow valve is used to divert any remaining water to drain away. This innovative idea was demonstrated on a fully functioning test rig manufactured from plastic, alunimium and stainless steel parts.

21 year old Jack is a third year apprentice at Altec Engineering, working on Tool-making within the company and one of 9 apprentices and a graduate engineer currently employed by Altec Engineering.

Altec director Paul Lackenby commented: “As it becomes increasingly difficult to find the skills to match our specific requirements in the outside world, we will continue to recruit apprentices which we can train in the skill sets which we require. This means that Altec will never suffer from the skills gap that blights many engineering companies today.” Paul continues: “Apprentices make a significant contribution to our business, not only from the work they do whilst they are training, but also in the stability they provide for the company as we look to the future. Bringing our own engineers up through the ranks allows us to be completely confident that we will continue to have the necessary skills and resource to maintain growth within both our current and new market segments.”