Meldrum students win tech challenge

Meldrum Academy students Jessica Riach and Luca D' Ambruoso with John Raine and Steve Morrice from Shell
Meldrum Academy students Jessica Riach and Luca D' Ambruoso with John Raine and Steve Morrice from Shell

Eight Aberdeenshire academies competed head-to-head at the final of North East Scotland College’s Schools Technology Challenge held at Fraserburgh Campus.

Sponsored by Shell UK, each school held knockout heats and selected the top boy and girl to pitch their brains against other participating school teams across engineering-related challenges.

These included tasks on communication, pneumatics, virtual welding, pressure testing, computer numerical control, science laboratory analysis and the salt car challenge.

The hotly-contested competition was eventually won by Meldrum Academy, represented by Luca D’ Ambruoso and Jessica Riach.

This year the final was held within the college’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) centre.

The pupils moved from workshop to laboratory to classroom as they worked in pairs, against the clock, to complete the various challenges.

Participating schools were Mintlaw, Peterhead, Fraserburgh, Banff, The Gordon Schools - Huntly, Meldrum, Ellon and Turriff.

Representing the local schools were: Ellon - Owen Edwards and Eilidh Hislop, Fraserburgh - Calum Duthie and Iona Strachan, Peterhead - Michael Strachan and Angel Villaflor, Mintlaw - Leon Park and Cassie Christie.

Duncan Abernethy, director of business development at NESCol, congratulated all sixteen finalists, commenting,: “It is a huge achievement for you to be selected as ambassadors for your schools.

“Not only were you best in class, but you were also deemed to be the best in school for this particular challenge, communicating effectively as teammates.

“Our thanks once again go to our valued sponsor Shell for their continuing support of this competition.”

The winners each received an iPad mini plus the Challenge Shield, while the runners up – Owen Edwards and Eilidh Hislop from Ellon Academy – each received a Fitbit Blaze.

The remaining participants were all presented with FitBits.

Steve Morrice, Shell St. Fergus plant manager said: “Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) are subjects at the very heart of Shell.

“Our industry needs talented people with relevant knowledge and skills in these areas. Shell aims to inspire young people to pursue careers in STEM through programmes like the Schools Technology Challenge.”