Manufacturing Technologies Association launches 2018 Technology Design and Innovation Challenge

The UK’s Manufacturing Technologies Association (MTA) has launched their annual competition for D&T and engineering students. The 2018 Technology Design and Innovation (TDI) Challenge is sponsored by Close Brothers, a UK merchant banking group.

Based in London, the MTA is the UK’s trade association for companies in the manufacturing technology sector.

The association’s flagship competition is one of the leading extracurricular school’s competitions in the UK. Past winners have used the TDI Challenge as launchpad for an industry career and students can enter existing coursework.

Halimah Ershad of Forest School in London, won the 17-19 age category 2017 TDI Challenge and went on to receive an undergraduate scholarship to the Dyson School of Engineering.

Ershad’s project was a High End Chick Brooder called BrooDen. Speaking at the time, Ershad said, “I can’t believe I have won, it has been a great day and I have really enjoyed myself. It was a brilliant experience seeing a modern manufacturing facility like Mazak. This is a great first step for me to a career in engineering.”

The MTA 2018 Technology Design and Innovation Challenge.
The MTA 2018 Technology Design and Innovation Challenge.

Opportunities in engineering

Competitions like the TDI Challenge also serve a wider function. Laura Pickering, Education and Development Manager at the MTA, explained, “This year the TDI Challenge is even more important, as we are in the Year of Engineering. We want to use this opportunity to inspire the next generation of engineers, and to help widen the diversity of employees within the industry. Students from all backgrounds should be aware that there are many rewarding and interesting careers in engineering available to them, accessible via apprenticeships and further/higher education.”

The Engineer reports a recent survey by Nixon Williams, an accountancy services provider. The survey is among the latest data to show a decline in applications for engineering apprenticeships. Derek Kelly, CEO of Nixon Williams, said, “The UK is predicted to need approximately 87,000 new engineers every year. UK universities churn out around 50,000 engineering graduates per year, many of whom do not remain in the country, so increasing the talent pipeline through apprenticeships will be vital to meeting that demand.”

The MTA TDI Challenge is free to enter, with student prizes including an iPad, GoPro, UE Boom Speaker and a drone. Schools can win credits for D&T equipment from Technology Supplies Limited ranging from £500 to £2000.

Addressing the skills gap

There is a long standing acknowledgement of a skills gap in additive manufacturing. Global enterprises such as Oerlikon and GE are expanding their 3D printing footprint, which increases demand for people skilled in 3D printing.

Steven Gee CEO, Industrial Equipment Division from DTI Challenge sponsor Close Brothers Asset Finance said, “Now more than ever, it is important to address the skills gap that many businesses in the manufacturing technologies industry face. We hope to help close this gap by supporting D&T and Engineering in the curriculum and raising awareness nationwide through the TDI challenge.”

In January 2018 the MTA highlighted the importance of 3D printing in a letter to the British Prime Minister and stated, “Technological change is the moving spirit of our age, whether it is the development of AI pushing our understanding of consciousness, 3D printing altering how we can make things or digital technology transforming how businesses interact with consumers, we are seeing the future hurtle towards us.”

HM Government's 2018 Year of Engineering artwork. Image via YoEgovuk on Twitter
HM Government’s 2018 Year of Engineering artwork. Image via YoEgovuk on Twitter

The closing date for entries is Friday 11th May 2018. Finalists will be notified by Friday 8th June 2018. The TDI Challenge is open to any student living in the United Kingdom. More information about the 2018 MTA TDI Challenge is available here.

Protolabs is sponsoring the 2018 3D Printing Industry Awards design competition. Submit your design for chance to win a 3D printer.

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