Eureka! Bringing tomorrow’s engineers a step nearer - Bridgwater & Taunton College

A new and exciting project that seeks to inspire and develop Somerset’s next generation of electronic engineers was launched at Bridgwater College’s McMillan Theatre last week.

The Thales Eureka Challenge (TEC) is the result of months of collaborative working between a group of 10 Engineering students from Bridgwater College, the Somerset Chamber of Commerce and a team from Bristol-based multinational electronics company Thales UK Limited. The Eureka Challenge is an innovative and challenging problem-solving project that seeks to retain talented young people in Somerset by equipping them with the skills they need to progress to a promising career within the South West’s fast-moving and thriving electronic engineering sector.

Key staff and Thales Eureka Challenge pilot students.

Thales is a world class, leading edge supplier of electronic systems to the space, aerospace, defence, security, and transportation sectors. A highlight of the project was a whistle-stop tour of the company’s flagship facility in Glasgow where, as well as gaining an insight into the world of global information and communication technology, the College students were introduced to the project planning and design thinking techniques that would form the basis of the Eureka project. Over the next six months they worked on developing the blueprint for a series of assignments based on real life scenarios that would help talented young engineers to develop a whole new set of skills, including design thinking, teamwork, problem-solving, communicating clearly, mentoring and public speaking.

Following the successful launch, at which the students used a range of media to give an excellent presentation detailing their experiences, the Eureka project will be rolled out to future cohorts at the College, with the next group expected to be on board by the end of November.

Matthew Mullan, Innovation Lead at Thales UK said,

“It's been a pleasure working with Bridgwater College, Somerset Chamber of Commerce and particularly the students. This pilot has demonstrated what can be achieved if we support and empower young adults to make a difference. I'm looking forward to the next phase.”

Nick Clapp, Head of Engineering, Protection Systems Domain at Thales UK, commented,

“It's been an absolute delight to create an engagement with Further Education that directly addresses local workforce issues.”

Matt Tudor, Director of Business Development and International Strategy at Bridgwater College said,

“We are delighted to be working in close partnership with a world leader like Thales. The opportunities that this partnership gives to our students are second to none. They are not only developing a whole range of supplementary skills crucial to the engineering sector today, but also gaining networking and career opportunities with one of the most prestigious and respected digital communications companies in the world. We cannot thank Thales enough for the time and resource they are committing to working with our students.”

Gareth Williams, Deputy Vice President, Secure Communications and Information Systems at Thales UK added,

“Thales is privileged to work in conjunction with Bridgwater College and the Chamber in creating a unique experience for students to gain new skills, and a chance to take on real world challenges using the Eureka Project. Giving students the chance of working with industry is vital to ensure that the engineers of tomorrow are better prepared for a great career.”

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