From the 21st to the 23rd October, fifty students from the following local schools benefitted from a unique hands-on learning experience hosted at Culford School.  

  • – King Edwards School
  • – St Benedicts School
  • – County Upper School
  • – Thurston Community College
  • – Stour Valley Community College
  • – Sybil Andrews Academy
  • – Culford School
  • – Ixworth Free School


The three-day residential programme, led by national educational charity, The Smallpeice Trust and funded by the local William and Ellen Vinten Trust, aimed to engage the students and provide them with the opportunity to learn about careers in engineering through a major project, company visit and presentations. 

Students were given a unique insight into a famous local engineering company when they visited Vitec Videocom, to see all aspects of engineering in action; in a company founded by the Vinten family.

In teams, the 13 to 15-year-old students worked on technical challenges led by engineers from Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) and Thales.  The JLR design-and-make projects included designing, building and promoting an all-terrain motor-powered vehicle.  For Thales Derek Langley, the authority on airborne imaging systems; set up a challenging space rescue project with many difficult constraints and new technical concepts that had to be mastered; most importantly it taught the students the importance of rapid concept development, experimentation and adaptation in order to attempt the mission.  As well as working on the design, build and test elements of the projects, the students developed life skills such as team work, communication, problem solving, time management, finance and presentations.


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The social programme included a reception and Gala dinner, with guests from local companies and the teachers from the schools involved. 


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The after-dinner speech was given by Emma Devlin who attended the first Bury St Edmunds Engineering Experience in 2010 and now works for the national grid, having completed an Engineering degree at Cardiff University.

Students presented their projects to guests and families.  Prizes were awarded to the best project teams by Jaguar Land Rover and Thales.

Two outstanding students Anna Mavroghanis & Harsh Kalshrestha, were recognised and received a prize of their choice of Smallpeice residential courses.


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The experience concluded with a careers & education buffet, a careers fair supported by a wide range of local companies and education providers, allowing students and parents to talk with local companies to appreciate the work they do and careers they offer. 

David Youngman, Trustee of the Vinten Trust and lead for the event, said that he and his fellow trustees were delighted to continue to organise and fund this event for the sixth time. He added, “Our aim is to open the eyes of our local students to the amazing and abundant possibilities of a career in Engineering, this event allows us to work with other brilliant organisations to deliver a focused and fun insight that can play a major part to inspire students to consider a career in engineering.  It is brilliant to work with the Smallpeice Trust, who share our local goals at a national level.  Without them and the significant active involvement and support from the teams from Thales, Jaguar Land Rover and Vitec Video Com we would not be able to deliver such a unique event to the students of Bury St Edmunds who we hope to enlighten.”

Jessica Lee, Education Officer from The Smallpeice Trust commented, “It has been a pleasure to work with these students for the past 3 days. They are an incredibly hard working group of students who continually surprised us with their commitment and motivation to the projects they were working on. The course allowed the students to work with a number of role model engineers who shared their knowledge and experience with the students. I hope the course encouraged the students to see the wealth of opportunities available to them as they move on from education and into their careers. This course was funded by the William and Ellen Vinten Trust and we are indebted to them for this contribution.”


About the Smallpeice Trust


For over 50 years The Smallpeice Trust has given young people everything that they need to explore their passion for engineering, making big ideas a reality through its hands on engineering experience courses and STEM days that challenge young people to imagine the engineering feats of the future.

The Smallpeice Trust is all about inspiring young people who are daring enough to think big and imagine. It gives 11-18 year olds everything that they need to explore their passion for engineering through in-school STEM Days and engineering experience courses – all with the help of universities, charities and corporate sponsors.

For more information on Smallpeice and its work visit  

For more information, please contact Clare Gerrard on  or  01926 333200 

About the William and Ellen Vinten Trust

Established in 1982, the principal aim of the William and Ellen Vinten Trust is to pursue initiatives which increase the interest of school and college students in the Bury St Edmunds area in science and technology subjects. The goal is to increase the numbers of students who might consider careers in the engineering disciplines and to improve their levels of attainment

For more information please check out the following website.




What have you enjoyed most about the course?

I think what I have enjoyed the most about the course was that we were constantly split into groups with people from different schools who did not know each other which meant we all were able to meet new people who normally I would never have spoken too. 

For me the most enjoyable part of the course was the different amounts of teamwork that was involved and the activities that we undertook throughout the course. The fact that we were put in groups with people that we didn’t know meant that we talked to others and made new friends.

What have you learnt on the course?

I have learnt a lot about time management and also the importance of coming together as a team in order to successfully complete a project. The various projects we had to complete within a restrained amount of time meant we were able to understand more about time management and how important teamwork is when trying to complete a project. Both of these I would consider as very important skills which I have no doubt will be useful later on in life.

The project has taught me about team work and how to work properly in a team. I also learnt more about time management and how to refine and correctly test a model/prototype, in my opinion it also reinforces the important and key skills required anywhere in a job.

Has the course made you think about what you might want to do in the future?

This course has definitely helped me decided on what I want to do in the future as it has encouraged me to pursue a career in STEM and has increased my interest in engineering after learning about the large range of different careers that make up field of engineering.

The course has definitely encouraged me to follow a career path in STEM, specially it has made my passion for chemistry even further and develop my interest and understanding of science in the everyday world.

Would you recommend the course to a friend?

Yes I would definitely recommend this course, as I truly believe it was a valuable experience which allowed me to understand more about the field of engineering and learning about new possibilities, I was not aware of prior to this engineering. Even if you are not interested in engineering, I think that this course would still be helpful as it could maybe spark your interest or if not improve many valuable skills which will be useful in the future.

Yes, I would most definitely recommend this course as it had been an enjoyable experience and has also helped build a more confident personality in my character. If anyone has any opportunities to attend this course I would even encourage them to take part as I believe it will be a most unforgettable experience that will also help later on in life.



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