Young Engineers building ships, aircraft and architecture

Added 12th August 2011

Teachers say -

"I have been on many school trips and activities and I can honestly say this is the best workshop I have been on....Carefully planned activities provided powerful learning opportunities for the children who showed amazing levels of engagement.... Sometimes its hard to get children to look forward and have high aspirations but the 'My Future My Choice Staff' are inspirational Adults and children all went a way with good feelings and new visions." Stuart Parslow, Year 3 Teachers, Avon Primary School

Businesses say

"If the children are buzzing half as much as my colleagues that is great" - Dafydd Bowen, Actuary,  AonHewitt

"We all really enjoyed building boats and being quizzed by the children and the photos are great for Marine News Magazine" - Marcus Fischer, Design Engineer, Rolls-Royce

Young Shipwrights at the Bristol Harbour Festival was the culmination of a long period of research with materials, children's capability and what schools told us they needed.

One minute video showing how the Young Shipwrights project operates with a major festival, 500 primary school childern, 50 business volunteers and an audience of 3000 spectators


Read on for the full story of the development of the CAD2Hand programme


1. Fairfield High School 

MFMC set up an informal partnership Agreement between Fairfield School and DSSP.

Fairfield wanted - To raise the profile of Design Technology in the school and are aiming to open their school up to business partnerships and ways of learning that raise aspirations and illustrate opportunities. for their students and staff.

DSSP wanted - Already work with FE/HE running a bursary scheme for Design Students. They have a dedicated display and resource for learning about the recycling and manufacture of corrugated board as well as cutting edge design process in their sector. They wanted a small scale  project that allowed them to work with secondary schools without undue disruption to their business and could be replicated and scaled if their was evidence it was successful. 

Methodology and Implementation. - Students were informed of the partnership and the need for them to understand the materials and concepts before meeting staff from the company. They compared CAD processes for 3D Design with methods of projecting flat shapes from side and plan view drawings by hand . They completed exercises for sheet metal apprentices in corrugated board and they met a Warick Moreton a shipwright who taught them how to draw the lines of boats and construct  a functioning model from these.

With this basic knowledge about the industry sector they visited DSSP where they met Simon Saunders from Design  and staff from other operations in the business. Using the businesses museum/archive display, "The Next Level" They learned how DSSP -

  • Recycle and manufacture corrugated board
  • The scale of the industry locally, in the UK and world wide
  • The relevance of the industry for a sustainable planet
  • Design products for a clients and the reality of a design brief
  • The way their designed products fit and function into the retail industry and factors that make their design competitive 


Manufacturing and Design  Processes at DSSP South West and the importance of environmental concerns to DSSP 

DSSP set the students a design challenge based on the need for temporary shelters and tents for festivals that could be reused and recycled

Board Room Presentations of model boats and concepts for a reusable, recyclable festival tents based on this design brief -

All students received a certificate 

 If you are a business or a school interested in a bespoke education business partnership contact

2. M Shed Museum - Procession of Professions. Young People as Engineers and Designers Building Boats and Planes.

This was an opportunity to develop and showcase some ideas with a shipwright and ab aircraft designer 

The Boat and the Shipwright

Shipwright, Warwick Moreton experimented with the lines of a variety of boats. Exploring historical context as well as functionality. Warwick has built famous replica boats such John Cabots famous boat, The Matthew.

Bristol's maritime history and boat building industry was a significant part of designing a workshop that schools could use across their curriculum. Young people and Warwick spent several months building and testing a range of boats. MFMC wanted the construction process to be as realistic as possible so that cardboard was engineered to work as keels, transoms, sections and planks.  





Children's imaginative drawings and design drawings helped shape boat designs 



Sea Trials  sailing across the wind 

The Plane

Steve Smith an aviator and designer of model aircraft  experimented with basic designs for gliders and powered models that could be made from corrugated board  and built by young people in schools working with limited time. The initial idea was simple and quick 

This link (Toy Plane Designer Mike Stone) shows the control possible 

The learning in primary schools and requires understanding of power and thrust and Steve was challenged to design a simple corrugated board plane that used an equivalent to a jet engine. He was initially sceptical  about the power to weight ratio but was persuaded by the properties of the R- Flute, corrugated board from DSSP designed to be thinner, lighter, stronger than other corrugated boards

He worked with Year 5 children on the capabilities of children to construct and understand the principles of the plane. He has since reduced the scale and the number of components and has a viable product for a day workshop. MFMC is now  looking for schools interested in taking the idea further and has an agreement in principle from Rolls-Royce to support the project with volunteers  if relevant schools are interested.


Airbus are also willing to listen to the MFMC request to support the initiative and evidence suggest that businesses from all industry sectors, not just engineering see the relevance of the activity to their volunteering programmes



What can be achieved with a paper aircraft is quite extraordinary -


3. Young Shipwrights - Bristol Harbour Festival 2011



The programme was supported by Donations of free ferry boat rides for over 300 children and teachers by Bristol Ferry Boat Company. These trips took in the sites of the harbour and for many children it was the first time they had been on the water in their own city




Follow this link to watch one of the films made by UWE students on work experience with BBC to see all the films visit the BBC and UWE work experience  blog




Launch Event - Bristol Harbour Festival - Shipshape and Bristol Fashion Boat Race July 2011

Volunteers on board the Bristol Packet Boat Red Shanks preparing to launch 100 boats


3000 Spectators and 100 boats -


The Lord Mayor of Bristol opens the event . Delivering a message about young people in Bristol being "shipshape and Bristol fashion.  A cannon on board The Matthew (A replica of John Cabot's boat) starts the race . 


Desperate Men Theatre Company Pirates engage the crowd while rescuing or capturing the slower boats

 West of England Schools Sailing Association    provided the boats and crew for this operation



Certificates were given for being fastest school boat , fastest family boat , completing the course or being captured by pirates (Rescued from sinking!)



Winners of the family race -

Winners of the school boat race


Sponsors of the winning school


 If you are a school, a family or a business and would like to join in the Young Shipwrights Project and take part in the "Ship Shape and Bristol Fashion Boat Race" email



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