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Salisbury STEM Challenge 2019

The team ‘Fresher, Faster Water Supplies’ from South Wilts Grammar School won the top award in this year’s STEM Challenge. Some 21 girls across five teams from three schools entered the competition, now in its second year, to encourage local girls to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The winning team from South Wilts Grammar School are seen here, left, with the STEM trophy, their certificates and cash prizes for themselves and their school.

The winning team focused on providing eco-friendly and sustainable water supplies to Yemen with their entry, which made use of aluminium piping and solar powered batteries to power the generator to pump the water. The girls say: “We chose Yemen because it is one of the most water deprived countries in the world and does not have an irrigation system in place.”


The competition for girls in years 8&9 in local schools was generously sponsored by Gilo Industries Group of Semley, Dorset and was run by Salisbury Soroptimists. The teams were asked to research what simple sustainable innovation could make life better for people living in poverty in the developing world.  They were challenged to design and create a prototype for a sustainable innovation that could improve the lifestyle of people living in the third world.

Judges were Helen Harrison, Deputy Head of Electrical Engineering and Construction at Wiltshire College, Rhian Griffith, Design Engineer at Gilo Industries and Cerys Rees, Fellow at DSTL. Announcing the results, Lisa Scandling, Chairman of the Judges and President Elect of the new Soroptimist Club said: “It was a really difficult task to make a choice between the excellent entries. We were particularly impressed by the high level of research carried out by the winning team in their study of the issues, and their great teamwork.” The judges also selected a runners up team, Starchy St Ed’s of St Edmund’s Girls School, pictured right, who they felt showed a strong approach to project planning and research through several experiments.

Lisa paid tribute to all five teams for their “high level of presentation, the level of research and the dedication of time that each team had put in and the teamwork you all showed.”

At the award ceremony kindly hosted by South Wilts University Technical College, Rhian Griffith, Design Engineer from sponsors Gilo Industries presented cash prizes to the winning team and to their school, as well as the bespoke trophy designed and manufactured by Apsley Precision Engineering for the school to display.

Speaking at the event were engineers Charlotte Handscombe-Buckley and Helen Littler who  gave a lively and motivational joint presentation on their career paths as engineers in two quite different fields.


The other schools’ finalists who received certificates of achievement were: Tomorrow’s Masterminds and Dauntsey’s Team 2 from Dauntsey’s School and SITNC from St Edmund’s Girls School

The evening showcased the teamwork, innovative ideas, hard work and enthusiasm of all five teams. We tried to capture the enjoyment had by all here:

The third Salisbury STEM Challenge will start in September 2019, and girls in KS 3&4 in local schools have until February 2020 half term to develop their entries.

For more information, or to enter your school for next year’s challenge please contact us here.