Young engineers take the trolley kart challenge

Press Release: 26/03/2014

Mike Worley (front left) and Cllr Rob Humby (front right) with the students and staff of Eastleigh College, gathered around Mike’s son’s racing kart.

Entrepreneurship has become something of a buzzword and is seen as a critical part of sustained recovery from the recent recession. But there is no simple blueprint for developing entrepreneurial instincts in Britain’s young people, as local businessman Mike Worley is finding out.

Keen to share his own experience of building a successful local business, engineer Mike of Rolwey has invited Winchester City Council to be part of his own initiative to create future talent. Mike is providing ‘real world’ experience for a group of students from Eastleigh College, in a way which he hopes will encourage them to become innovators – and excite them about a future career in engineering.

Having first visited them in the classroom, Mike hosted a visit to his business premises in Chandlers Ford last week where he introduced them to the world of kart racing – and the challenge of designing the perfect kart trolley to provide easy transport between the paddock and the track on race days. The session was attended by friend and fellow engineer Cllr Rob Humby, Deputy Leader of Winchester City Council. Rob is not only Mike’s local ward member, but is also the City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Economic Development with a lively interest in new business initiatives.

Once on site, the 20 students from Eastleigh College studying a BTEC level 3 Extended Diploma in Engineering were invited to consider the kart trolley – to deconstruct it and to suggest improvements in its design and fabrication. With an example of both kart and trolley in the room before them, the young people were able to ask questions which ranged from the best materials and potential production techniques to user requirements and price sensitivity. Mike has offered to build prototypes of the student designs in his factory, where his team already creates parts as diverse as pipework for petro-chemical plants to high performance components for Formula One cars.

Mike said;

Education is very important, of course, and many schools and colleges are doing great work on entrepreneurship. But for a young person leaving college there is still a big jump into the world of work. I am trying to give this group of students a first-hand understanding of what it means to deal with everyday business concerns – like the balance between design and cost, which is critical in making a saleable commodity.

Cllr Humby added:

I enjoyed this session very much, on a personal level going back to my days as an engineering apprentice, but also as a politician keen to see local young people thrive in a tough economic climate. I never had an opportunity like this when I was younger, and I would love to see more real life experience of this kind being made available.

I will be working closely with Mike over the coming months to explore the possibility of a longer-term project to support entrepreneurship, and hope to involve a range of local partners and business people in my plans. In the meantime, I am very much looking forward to seeing how the Eastleigh students get on with their new, improved kart trolleys.