Student tests the water with kayak project

Hellesdon High sixth form student Alex Maine has been awarded an Arkwright Scholarship award for his

Hellesdon High sixth form student Alex Maine has been awarded an Arkwright Scholarship award for his studies during year 12 and 13 during which he manufactured a free style Kayak.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: Archant Norfolk

A scholarship-winning technology student has put his skills to the test and built a state-of-the-art freestyle kayak at school.

Hellesdon High sixth form student Alex Maine has been awarded an Arkwright Scholarship award for his

Hellesdon High sixth form student Alex Maine has been awarded an Arkwright Scholarship award for his studies during year 12 and 13 during which he manufactured a free style Kayak.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: Archant Norfolk

Alex Maine, a student at Hellesdon-Taverham sixth form, made the fibreglass prototype kayak as part of his A-Level technology project, and hopes for a top grade.

After the 18-year-old student was awarded an Arkwright Scholarship, he decided to push the boundaries with an ambitious project.

The scholarship is awarded to talented students with an interest in pursuing a career in engineering or design-technology.

With ambitions for a career in motorsport engineering, Mr Maine studies mathematics, physics and engineering at A-Level, as well as a BTEC in engineering.


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Paul Duncan, director of technology, said: 'I was a bit dubious when he first came up with the idea – it's a complicated project, but he needed something to stretch his abilities.

'He's very gifted with technology, and always pushes the boundaries.' Students were encouraged to research their projects, work with companies in the engineering industry and use professional design software.

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Mr Maine, who works part time as an activities instructor, used his kayaking experience to inspire his design.

With an award of £1,000 in a scholarship from the Arkwright award system for study throughout years 12 and 13, he was able to complete the project.

Taking to the water at Hellesdon High School swimming pool yesterday, Mr Maine put the lightweight kayak to the test, and said: 'On results day I'm taking it home. I can't wait to take it out on the river and push it and myself to the limit.'

Students were required to build a prototype design as part of their A-Level project, and then discuss how they would improve on the design. 'It's a one off, but I'm thinking of making an updated version over the summer – I've learned so much from making it.'

Mr Maine spent around £300 on the kayak, which took more than four months to build, but said if he were to put it up for sale, it could fetch around £700.

Mr Duncan said the school encouraged students to choose projects which were in keeping with their hobbies and interests. He said it was also important to consider sustainability when designing projects.

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