Rotary Technology Tournament - further information



We strongly believe that the country needs more young people to become passionate about engineering, both civil and mechanical, if we are to maintain our place in the world economy. The tournaments are designed to engage students by allowing them to have fun whilst being challenged to design and build a project that complements their studies under the National Curriculum. Each school can enter up to 3 teams of 4 students in age categories 12 -14, 14 - 16 & 16 and over.



A Rotary Club in Hertfordshire first started Rotary Technology Tournaments in 1989. Over the years this has become a national event as more Rotary Clubs have provided the facilities for, and involved their local schools in them.

This year, in our District of North and West Yorkshire, there will be nine tournaments taking place. In Harrogate, Catterick, Halifax, York, Leeds, Skipton, Keighley, Batley and Featherstone, tournaments will involve over 100 schools and over 1000 students.


Featherstone Technology Tournament

Our Tournament in Featherstone was organised by the ‘Joint 6' Rotary Clubs mentioned in the lead page, under the guidance of Rtn. Jim Walkden.

We were grateful for sponsorship from Costain plc, who not only funded a polo shirt for every student, but also gave prize money of £500 to be split between the winning schools. Jacqui Bolsover of Costain plc also brought along two engineers, Paul Eckersley and Jonathan Hornsby (both have worked on the Castleford foot bridge and now on the link road) to talk to the students about how to embark on a career in civil engineering. We were also grateful for the support of Bob Bennett and James Dickerson from the Institute of Civil Engineers who also gave up their time to encourage the students into engineering on the day.

We had teams from Castleford High Technology College, Crofton High School, Featherstone Technical College, Normanton Freeston Business College, Outwood Grange College of Technology, St. Wilfred's High School, Wakefield Girls High and Queen Elizabeth Grammar School. 16 teams entered allowing 64 students to take part on the day. Each age category designed and built a project suited to their ability.

Only the 12-14 (key stage 3) and 14-16 (key stage 4) were represented. KS3 had to bridge across a 50cm gap from 2 fixed foundations. KS4 had to bridge across a 80cm gap in two sections, one of which had to be able to lift or swing to allow a ship to pass. The best project in each category, judged both on design and finished result, was awarded a trophy.

The Tournament started at 9.30 am. The students were allowed an hour to plan their bridge and prepare a portfolio. The teams then started their construction.

The teaching staff accompanying the students were, to their surprise, split into teams and given the task of designing and building the advanced bridge. This bridge had to have two lifting sections.

Teams of judges supplied by the Rotary Clubs were on hand to mark each stage of the design and construction. The final test, when construction finished at 2.00pm, was a weight test of 1kg pulled across the completed bridge. I am happy to report that all the bridges supported the weight.


We were most grateful to Coun. Allan Garbutt, Mayor of Wakefield, who presented the trophies to the winning teams.



Mr. Phil Crawford from Freeston College said that they had a really good day, and how good it was for the students to have the time to plan and develop a project. Very useful to have representatives from Costain plc and ICE to talk to the students and make them aware of the opportunities open to them.

Mr. George Wilson from Castleford High remarked that it was a good idea to separate the teachers from the students as it made them rely on their own resources.

Mr. Bob Bennett from ICE agreed that it had been a most worthwhile event. It helped to develop engineering skills and teamwork. ICE was very keen to support any initiative to increase interest in engineering.

Mr. Paul Eckersley of Costain plc had previously worked in design & construction with schools in the area. Events such as our Technology Tournament are worthwhile if they only get a few students interested in engineering as a career.

Students from Freeston said that they had ‘a really interesting day', from Crofton ‘an enjoyable project', from Castleford High ‘an interesting project'



We are most grateful to :-

Mr. Andy Prout and all the staff at Featherstone Rovers RL Stadium for allowing us to use their banqueting suite.

Costain PLC for supporting us not only with sponsorship, but also in bringing along some of their young engineers to encourage the students to pursue a career in engineering.

Bob Bennett and The Institute of Civil Engineers for their support.

Coun. Allan Garbutt, Mayor of Wakefield, for his support and in presenting the trophies.

Schools staff. Without their interest and support, in spite of the pressures of the present day curriculum, our efforts on behalf of the students would come to nothing.

Rotarians from the ‘Joint 6' clubs who have put a great deal of time and resources into the organisation of this event.


NB. Freda Thompson and Joyce Wassell of Castleford Flower Club were allowed to take one of the teacher's bridge to use in their arrangement for Castleford Heritage Week. Anyone can see their work from 3rd. July.


Page ref: /projects/rotarytechnologytournament-furtherinformation.html