Students invited to bring winning hospital designs to life

10th October 2022
Sheryl Miles

IVE school teams who reached the final of a national competition designed to get more young people into Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) careers have been offered the chance to have their winning designs turned into real tools to help children in hospital.

Through a partnership with the New Hospital Programme, finalists of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) Faraday Challenge will work with designers and engineers to turn their ideas into practice.

The announcement was made at the Institute of Healthcare Engineering and Estates Management (IHEEM) conference in Manchester earlier this week.

The five finalists are:

  • Berkhamsted Girls School in Hertfordshire;
  • Egglescliffe School and Sixth Form College in Stock-on-Tees;
  • Fulford School in York;
  • St Edmund’s Catholic School in Portsmouth; and
  • St Aidan’s High School in North Lanarkshire.

The New Hospital Programme is the biggest hospital-building programme in a generation, working with NHS Trusts and the government to build 48 new hospitals and major improvements across England by 2030.

The new hospitals will be designed with patients, staff, and visitors front-of-mind, building state-of-the-art facilities that will help to create an experience that is as simple and stress-free as possible.   

The Faraday Challenge Days are part of the IET’s wider education programme, designed for Year 8 students in England and Wales, S1/S2 students in Scotland, and Year 9 in Northern Ireland, and gives teams of students the opportunity to research, design and make prototype solutions to real-world engineering problems.

Each year the competition has a different theme. Through a partnership with IHEEM, the challenge was set around healthcare engineering, with school teams being asked to design a prototype to support children in long-term care in hospitals.

The competition took place over the 2021-22 academic year, with the five teams chosen from more than 165 events. The teams were judged on their team working, problem-solving and creative thinking.

The Final of the Challenge took place in June, when pupils from St Aidan’s High School in Wishaw, North Lanarkshire were crowned national champions. The team developed a fully functional ‘Munchie box’, incorporating buttons to help young patients overcome their reluctance to eat and play while in hospital.

The New Hospital Programme includes four new hospitals for children and young people’s services: a new women’s and children’s hospital in Milton Keynes; a new Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) Unit on the St. Ann’s site in Poole; a new Women and Children’s Hospital in the centre of the Royal Cornwall Hospital site in Truro; and a large new build centralising children’s and adult services as part of the Leeds General Infirmary site.

The Institute of Healthcare Engineering & Estates Management (IHEEM) is the largest UK professional body dedicated to the professional development of healthcare engineers and estates and facilities professionals across all levels. One of its core objectives is to encourage the next generation of EFM leaders into the industry. It offers free IHEEM Student Affiliate Membership and dedicated ‘Future Leaders’ online tools and resources for young people.

In addition, IHEEM STEM Ambassadors have delivered a series of ‘People Like Me’ workshops and presentations in schools. IHEEM also offers students access to its Healthcare Digital Career Route Map, which provides details of all the varied roles within the EFM sector.

Morag Stuart, Programme Director of the New Hospital Programme, said: “We were hugely impressed by what these young teams achieved and their creativity in responding to a real-world challenge. We are delighted to be able to offer the students an opportunity to continue to develop their ideas and meet some of the New Hospital Programme team.

It’s important that we show young people the breadth of opportunities available within engineering, which includes fascinating opportunities within healthcare. I’m looking forward to working with the Institution of Engineering and Technology, the Institute of Healthcare Engineering and Estates Management and the students and finding ways to engage more young people in healthcare engineering and design.”

Pete Sellars, Chief Executive of IHEEM, said: “During IHEEM’s involvement with the Faraday Challenge we have witnessed a remarkable amount of aptitude, imagination and creativity from the students taking part. I am therefore delighted that this has been formally recognised by the New Hospital Programme and that they have accepted our invitation to engage with the finalists to give them the opportunity to influence hospital design in relation to young people’s services. This undoubtedly means that the outputs from the challenge will endure and develop in this unique way.

One of IHEEM’s key aims is to encourage more young people into our industry. Whilst the challenge has provided students with a greater understanding of the roles and functions within our sector, the ongoing partnership with IET and now with the New Hospital Programme will elevate and raise its profile and promote to young people the opportunities that a career in healthcare engineering can afford.

The Institute is looking forward to continuing to work alongside both organisations on this initiative and I am personally eager to see how the journey of all the students progresses.”

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