Three budding young engineers have proved their mettle in a design competition run by city giants Gripple which will change the city’s industrial scene.
The lads from Sheffield’s Birkdale School beat Year 8 pupils from across Yorkshire and the Humber to take first place in the art and engineering competition devised by the city manufacturer.
The competition, aimed at encouraging schoolchildren to become engineers, was linked to the launch of the graphic novel Stainless, which celebrates the inventor of stainless steel, Harry Brearley.
The brief for pupils was to design a stainless steel artwork and create a means of fixing it to a wall. Birkdale pupils Aryan Akhgar, Bailey Neal and Matthew Robinson came up with a fork and cyclist design to reflect Sheffield’s cutlery manufacturing heritage, and as an homage to the Tour De France Grand Départ in Yorkshire.
The boys - and city commuters - will get to see the design on a giant scale, permanently gracing the wall of the Gripple HQ.
The firm arranged the manufacture of a 10ft-high version of the fork, which has been fixed alongside the famous spider on the end of the Firth Brown building where Gripple are now based. It’s a fitting site – the building was part of the complex where stainless steel was invented.
Gripple also made a smaller version and presented it to the Birkdale team, which will be displayed in the school.
The pupils also won two workshops for their school, one with local sculptor Ian Hudson, who will work with students to inspire them to produce metal work, and the second, a hands-on innovation workshop, will see students working on a redesign for a niche market. They will be given materials and the chance to use the equipment at Gripple.
Gordon Macrae, the company’s special projects manager, said: “The Birkdale entry captured the essence of the competition and stood out in both design and engineering. It was innovative, met the brief, had a sense of fun and most importantly will enhance our iconic spider.”