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Scooting ahead in design competition

03 December 2019

An 11-year-old Beaulieu Convent student who took part in a national engineering competition with nearly 800 young Islanders will have her winning design made into a prototype by Kingston University engineering students. 

Ameya Colston-Weeks’s ‘Seater Scooter’ features a pop-up seat fitted to a scooter, providing respite for young people who want to take the weight off their feet but keep on moving. 

Her design impressed a panel of construction and design professionals in July, when she and hundreds of students became the Island’s first cohort to take part in the national Leaders Award competition, following a partnership between Skills Jersey and UK organisation Primary Engineer. Among the judges was Peter Barrington, Head of Aerospace and Aircraft Engineering at Kingston University. 

As part of the entrepreneurial competition, which aims to inspire budding engineers, children and young people from 43 schools and nurseries interviewed and worked alongside engineers from various fields to design a product that solved a particular problem. Jersey pupils were among roughly 48,000 young people across the UK to take part in the competition.

Ameya, who won the Year 6 age group category, said that she was delighted when Kingston University told her that they had decided to build her design. 

“I think that my invention would be really useful, especially for younger children,” she said. “I thought of this idea because whenever we went walking and my sister went on her scooter she would always complain that she was tired and wanted to sit down, so we always had to try and find a bench.

“You would need a scooter, a hydraulic jack system and a bicycle seat. It will probably cost around £70 at the most.”

The Assistant Minister for Education, Deputy Jeremy Maçon, said: “Competitions like this help raise awareness of the different pathways for our young people, who may mistakenly think there are limited career options in Jersey. As well as challenging themselves to think like engineers, children and young people who took part in this competition had the opportunity to work with local experts from a range of engineering backgrounds who are passionate about their industry. My congratulations goes to Ameya for her impressive design, and to all the other students who have been inspired to consider a career in engineering.”

Ameya’s teacher, Francesca Vincent, said: “As an all-girls school, we are incredibly proud of Ameya and her achievements within this STEM competition. Her ambition and forward thinking shows younger years that there are opportunities within the sciences to be creative and open minded. We cannot wait for the prototype to be unveiled and hope Ameya enjoys being involved in the design process.”

Skills Jersey’s Dave Roworth, who developed the ongoing partnership with Primary Engineer to promote STEM skills in local schools, hopes to see even more students involved next year.

“Ameya is just one of hundreds of children with the imagination and creativity to make anything possible,” he said. “We had 800 pupils taking part in this first year, and I am confident that we can double that number for next year’s event.”

The fully constructed Seater Scooter will be presented to Ameya at the 2020 Awards Event at the Town Hall in the summer.

Primary Engineer are recognised for their award-winning work in the UK, bringing together industry and education to deliver engineering challenges for young people and communities, and helping to reduce the gap in skills for this area of the economy. 

Local engineers and companies wishing to be involved in this initiative for 2020 should contact​

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