Young adults from across the UK gathered at HMS Sultan, Gosport on Wednesday, 21st March in order to compete in The Royal Navy Engineering Challenge - Exercise Clean Sweep to mark the Year of Engineering 2018.

Held in partnership with University Technical Colleges (UTCs) and affiliated employers, schools, Babcock and BAE Systems, the Challenge which involved building a remote-controlled vessel capable of recovering objects on the seabed aimed to inspire young people to engage further with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects.

75 teams competed in the Challenge, with several of the teams enjoying the opportunity to experience 24 hours of Naval life, including a night on board HMS Bristol.

In addition to the challenge, Royal Navy commissioned the Borehamwood-local behind-the-scenes media production and creative arts college Elstree University Technical College to document the day and create several short films on their behalf. The crew from EUTC followed teams across the competition in their attempts to win each category.

This year’s Challenge was affiliated with the aircraft carrier HMS PRINCE OF WALES, sister ship to HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH, the Royal Navy’s newest and largest-ever warship.

The task was to build a remote-controlled vessel that can recover objects on the sea floor that need to be removed before the ship arrives in port.

With the event falling in the Year of Engineering, the event gave everyone involved the chance to demonstrate how organisations across the engineering industry, such as the Royal Navy, Babcock and BAE Systems are encouraging young people into STEM careers.

Outside of competition itself, the youngsters were given the opportunity to enjoy several STEM-related displays and activities including tours of the Establishment’s facilities such as helicopters, gas turbines and diesel engines.

Prizes were awarded across six different categories between groups aged 14-16, 16-18 for apprentices from industry aged 18-24, with teams Extracting Compass from UTC Swindon, Impact from HAE UTC and Eaton by a Shark from Eaton Aerospace Systems overall winners in the respective categories.

UTC Portsmouth which opened in September entered six teams in the competition for the first time. Year 10 student Parys Reid said:  “Every other time trial that we have done we have kind of just sank and our design has changed a lot since we started. We have kind of ended up with a double-decker of a boat with our electrics at the bottom and our crane on top.”

“We only opened in September and this has been the first opportunity that we have had to see what the other UTCs are like and it’s been really interesting. I hope we can get to take part again next year.”

Freya Long, Design and Tech Engineering Teacher at UTC Portsmouth said: “I think they’ve enjoyed what they’ve done. There’s lots of problem-solving that’s been going on and they’ve tried to do quite a lot and might have benefited from doing more testing, but most teams have stayed afloat.”

“I’m so proud of them and it’s given us a lot to work on for next year and looking to see what lots of other teams have been able to produce has been really useful.”

Vice Admiral Sir Jonathan Woodcock OBE, Second Sea Lord said: “This annual engineering challenge which grows from strength to strength each year offers an invaluable opportunity for the Royal Navy to inspire the engineers of the future whilst at the same time encouraging innovation and showcasing the variety of roles and opportunities that exist for those wishing to pursue a career in engineering.”

“UTCs offer the opportunity for young people to gain the academic and technical qualifications that are valued by the Royal Navy and other industry partners and this annual challenge provides an excellent example of the practical application of the theoretical learning they have received in the classroom.”

Anne Lean (Projects and Partnerships Manager, Elstree University Technical College) said: “The EUTC team made an outstanding contribution to the Royal Navy Engineering Challenge. To have the Royal Navy as a client of the college highlights our students capacity to produce industry-standard content ready for contemporary media landscape.”


By PO Photographer Nicola Harper

SU180043001 - Pictured Members from WMF Academy. Left to right WO2 Ure, Danny Sutton, Sam Billington and Thomas Cuts

SU180043002 - Pictured students from the Royal Hospital School. Pictured left to right Rupert Todd, Finn Corloran, Henry Gatyton, Guy Parker and Megan Aslet-Clark

SU180043010 - Pictured Members from WMF Academy

SU180043003 - Pictured Members Commodore Cree being interviewed by media.

SU180043007 - Pictured Members from BAE  left to right Toby Harlow, Mr Richard Thompson(judge), Mr Tom Parson(Judge), Kurtis Eyers and James Lawrence

SU180043009 - Pictured two Air Engineering Technicians left to right AET Lannon and AET Kean

SU180043011 -  Pictured Members of team Eaton by a Shark who won best Apprentice, Manufacture and Newcomer. Left to right Mitchell Best, Nick Evans, Sam Ruthersford and James Moss.

Award winners

Best presentation
Aquaholics – HAE UTC

Most innovative
Impact – HAE UTC

Best manufacture
Eaton by a Shark- Eaton Aerospace Systems

Resilience prize
HMS The Claw – The Leigh UTC

Best newcomer
Eaton by a Shark- Eaton Aerospace Systems

Best in age group
KS4 Winners: Extracting Compass – UTC Swindon

Runners-up: HMS Cheeseknife – Scarborough UTC
KS5 Winners: Impact – HAE UTC

HMS Harley - – The Leigh UTC


Eaton by a Shark- Eaton Aerospace Systems

Intrepid – BAE Systems