UTC Oxfordshire use design and engineering skills to help NHS

UTC Oxfordshire student, Tom Pooley, is leading efforts to make face shields to help protect NHS workers from Coronavirus. 

UTC Oxfordshire uses industry standard 3D printing equipment, that alongside Tom’s home 3D printer, will make the much-needed specialist facemasks (FFP3 masks) needed by our NHS right now.  

As well as creating facemasks, students are printing the special frames required for protective visors that are also in demand for NHS staff.  

Year 13 student, Tom is also helping the Children’s Hospital, who have received a donation of tablets, by etching NHS onto the back of each one.  

Tom, who is currently studying an Extended Diploma in engineering together with A Level computer science and core maths, decided to put his time in lockdown to good use after he was inspired by his mum.  

He said: “My mum is an NHS nurse and, having been a patient myself only a few months ago, I have a great appreciation for what NHS staff have to do.  

“Having experience with 3D printing and seeing the current challenges faced by the NHS I decided now would be an ideal time to help them by aiding in the production of face masks for COVID-19 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).  

“I hope by doing this I can help in the fight against COVID-19 but I’m also gaining an experience of engineering and manufacture”. 

Tom’s mother Zoe, who works for the NHS, said: “The demand for PPE during the COVID-19 pandemic is overwhelming at the moment and demand is far outstripping the availability of supply.  

“Any help to produce certain items is so gratefully received and the creativity and willingness of UTC Oxfordshire to 3D print visors and support with other projects is fantastic. It demonstrates such a strong community spirit in contributing to the efforts of everybody to manage this challenge. 

“The health care professionals caring for the patients need their faces to be completely covered so that no virus particles can be inadvertently splashed on to their skin, risking infection of either themselves or other people they come into contact with, and the visors will shield them from that risk.  

“This is especially important when we are caring for children and babies who frequently cough and cry when they are ill. We appreciate the ingenuity and willingness to help very much – thank you!” 

Samantha Knowlton, recently appointed Principal at UTC Oxfordshire, said she was more than happy for the school to contribute to the fight against COVID-19.  

She added: “We are really proud to be part of the solution to a worldwide problem. 

“This demonstrates our engineering excellence in practice and highlights how important a UTC education is in developing forward thinking, enthusiastic, focused youngsters who want to make a difference; this really is a true demonstration of transforming lives through education. 

“We are pleased to be able to pool resources and for our students to use their skills and experience to help in this time of need. It is great to see their enthusiasm, creativity and problem-solving skills being used in real-life situations, using the time they now have to provide solutions to the frontline where it is needed most.  

“We are incredibly proud of our students, and their passion and drive to make a difference.” 

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