Students at The Ellesmere Port Church of England College, in partnership with the University of Chester, are celebrating after being named the winner of the ‘Social Mobility Award’ at the Educate North Awards.

Now in their fifth year, the Awards celebrate the outstanding teams, people and initiatives from higher and further education institutions across the north of England.

The award was in recognition of the college and university’s ‘STEM Green-Power Car Challenge’ project. This outreach project was devised by Angela Lupton, the University’s HE STEM Co-ordinator, working with the Department of Mechanical Engineering to raise awareness of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects amongst male school students, and demonstrate the advantages of continuing to Higher Education (HE) in this sector. It came about in response to UCAS data which highlighted a significant drop in male students from disadvantaged backgrounds continuing into HE.

Staff and Year 11 students from the College have been working with Angela and her academic colleague Bobby Manesh on the four-year project, during which students, working as a team, have been involved in designing, building, refining and modifying a Green-Power car to race at venues around the country.

Since the project began, students have been working at the mechanical engineering workshops at the University’s Thornton Science Park to design and build their sustainable green electric car. The students developed their car to make it as efficient as possible. They will soon race against schools around the country, through the Greenpower Education Trust – a charity which aims to advance education in the subjects of sustainable engineering and technology for young people.

The most-recent award builds upon the College’s success and is further recognition of the partnership team’s outstanding achievements – having previously won the prestigious Class of the Year Award at the Cheshire Schools Awards Ceremony in June 2018.

The team who have been driving the project includes students: Jamie Cavanagh, designated as group leader, his deputy Marcel Kucharski, with Liam Terry, Morgan Parry, Ben Taylor, Ben Jones, Ben Walters, Albie Rossiter, William Nuttall and Aaron Owens.

Higher Education STEM coordinator at the University of Chester, Angela Lupton, said: “I am absolutely delighted that this project has received further regional recognition with our Educate North award. When I designed this project, I knew that its success would be dependent on the hard work and dedication of the boys who took part – and this group, and their supportive teaching staff, has been outstanding.”

Teacher of Design Technology at the College, Mr Dave Bolam, said: “I am extremely proud and honoured to have received this award on behalf of our exceptional Year 11 STEM Green-Power Car Challenge Team. The partnership was entered for the award by the University of Chester and managed to win despite intense competition from six other shortlisted universities across the whole North of England.”

“Without the full support of the students and the collaboration with the team at the University of Chester this project would have not been possible. I feel privileged to be part of the Team and although we are proud of the work so far, and of course very pleased to be honoured with this award, we feel this is just the start of our incredible journey.”

Jamie Cavanagh, Project Group Leader and Year 11 student, said: “Whilst I feel immensely proud, this project could only have been possible with the team we had working so well together. The team has come so far from where we started!”

Marcel Kucharski, Deputy Leader and Year 11 student, added: “We are delighted to be recognised for this award and it has been fascinating to see how a group, who were mostly strangers to each other, could work so well together to create such a great project. It shows you that anything is possible if you try!”