Princethorpe Sixth Former Michael Makes A Big Bang

Princethorpe Sixth Former and young engineer Michael Gucluer took on some of the nation’s finest young scientists and engineers in not one, but two national competitions at this week’s Big Bang Fair. Held at the NEC in Birmingham from 14 – 16 March, Michael wowed judges and came away with the UK Young Engineers National Award for Engineering Excellence.

Lower Sixth student Michael secured his first national competition place last summer when he won the West Midlands regional heat of the Big Bang Fair’s UK Young Scientists and Engineers Independent Project Competition with his GCSE Electronics and Control project.

In the wake of his success, Michael also entered this project for the UK Young Engineers Mentoring Programme and following a highly competitive selection process, he secured one of only fourteen places on the programme.

Since September, Michael has been working alongside experienced engineers and scientists from global organisations and the National Physical Laboratory in London to develop his electronic product. As part of the mentoring programme, UK Young Engineers also host a national competition which saw the final taking place at this week’s Big Bang Fair.

As part of both competitions, Michael gave a five-minute pitch about his product and then was questioned by judges (with a panel made up of industry experts and leading UK and Global Engineers and Scientists) in an intense 15-minute question and answer session. Most competitors only had to endure three judges as part of the competition process but as Michael had entered both competitions, he was grilled by nine at once!

17-year-old Michael, who is currently studying A-levels in Chemistry, Maths and Physics, commented, “The electronic product I’ve been developing is a multi-purpose, modular control system which can be re-programmed for industrial applications. It also includes a range of optoelectronic components (electronic devices and systems that source, detect and control light) so that data related to important processes can be displayed simultaneously in real-time and recorded for future use.”

Unsure just yet if it's Engineering or Astro / Quantum Physics he’d like to study at university, he continues, “I’m so pleased that my product is getting national recognition. This award will be great for future development and will certainly stand out on my CV. I’m going to focus on my A-levels for now and when I have a bit more time, go back and look at sponsorship and investment opportunities for taking my product to the next level. You might see me on Dragons’ Den yet!”

Paul Scopes, Head of Design Technology at the College, added, “Michael has worked exceptionally hard this year and it’s fantastic to see how well he has applied the support and knowledge he’s received as part of the UK Young Engineers Mentoring Programme and from staff at Princethorpe to developing his product. He thoroughly deserves this accolade.”