Students aged 14 and 15 from the Future Brunels programme visited Dymag in Chippenham where they met Dymag’s managing director, entrepreneur Chris Shelley and had a personal tour of the facility where carbon fibre wheels are designed for the world’s top motor cycle race teams and a global consumer market.
The five boys and five girls are amongst pupils handpicked from schools in and around Bristol after a gruelling selection process. They gained first hand experience of turning carbon cloth and liquid resin into a solid material that is five times stronger than steel and they were able to take their finished products home.
Chris Shelley said: “Dymag is a world leader in designing and manufacturing carbon and aluminium wheels. We set the benchmark in the 1970s when we were the first company to manufacture carbon fibre wheels for both motorcycle and high performance cars. So I’m delighted and proud to have hosted the next generation of British engineers who I hope we inspired and at the same time provided them with an insight into what goes into making a top performance racing wheel.”
Dymag has supplied wheels to many Formula 1, Rally, GP Moto, Superbike and Isle of Man TT champions for over 40 years. The company then went into liquidation and was rescued by Chris Shelley who, with the help of the original Dymag team of engineers, brought the company back to life and is now supplying top flight race teams once again. He has also just launched a range of carbon fibre cycle wheels and is working on a new car wheel prototype.
Sainsbury Management Fellow, Chris Shelley is an international businessman and entrepreneur. He employs a team of expert engineers at his factory in Chippenham, Wiltshire and also works closely with the National Composites Centre in Bristol on developing new projects. Chris also mentors engineering students at Bristol University.
He said: “It’s really important that we nurture British engineering talent from an early age. This country is famous for so many great engineering inventions and we hope that Dymag is playing a small but significant part in flying the British flag worldwide.”
The ss Great Britain Trust’s Education Manager Dr Rachel Roberts commented: “The ‘Future Brunels programme is designed to encourage more children to pursue a career in science and engineering. We aim to inspire the next generation of Brunels by introducing them to these types of new technologies and experiences.”
Future Brunels Programme
The Future Brunels Programme aims to capitalise on the enthusiasm for science that children experience in primary schools, and maintain that interest throughout their time at secondary school. Currently the ss Great Britain education team are working with children from four Bristol secondary schools: Bedminster Down School, Cotham School, Merchants’ Academy and Redland Green School, and provides them with exciting and inspiring experiences of science and engineering outside a classroom setting.
Twelve students from Year 7 are selected annually and they each spend six days every academic year on the programme until the end of secondary school. The Future Brunels are selected on the basis of their enthusiasm and aptitude for science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM subjects), but are not necessarily already committed to studying those subjects at GCSE or beyond.
As part of the programme the Future Brunels visit inspirational sites related to science, technology and engineering. They take part in hands-on projects at the Brunel Institute and annual activities and trips are based around themes which take their inspiration from Brunel’s skills and abilities.
For further information on the Future Brunels contact Jess Hellens at ss Great Britain Trust’s on 01179 260680 extension 309, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website at http://www.ssgreatbritain.org