Northern Irish teenager, Colum McNally, has been dubbed young engineer of the year at Birmingham’s Young Scientist and Engineers Fair! His invention? A practical and economic design called the Agri-Hammer – a hydraulic, multi-functional tool crafted to assist farmers in the cutting of logs and fence postings. The 18-year-old states this innovation will take ‘the safety off the farmer’s hands, rather than taking the hands off the farmer’.

Sterling words from the budding engineer with a strong sense of health and safety. The origin of the Agri-Hammer is an inspiring story, with young McNally previously assisting on his father’s farm and seeing the potential dangers first-hand. With the only alternative woefully expensive, McNally hopes that his new, affordable design will improve working conditions.

Looking to the Future

It’s young minds such as McNally’s that keep driving us forward with innovation. These sentiments are echoed by Kate Bellingham, chair of the judging panel, stating that she is ’convinced [McNally] will be a great ambassador for science and engineering in the future.’

Supporting youngsters and engaging them is utterly vital. After all, without the creativity of kids like Colum, we’re going to be in a sorry state in the future. Thankfully, projects like the Young Scientist and Engineers Fair are far from alone in encouraging imagination and stimulation in the field of engineering.

Already this month, we’ve seen British Science Week attracting interest in those crucial STEM subjects of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Student teachers at Edge Hill University have begun holding ‘STEM days’ for pupils of all ages – from nursery kids to sixth-form students, with the intention of not only inspiring them, but also helping the student teachers learn how best to engage their pupils. Even the Government is aware of how important this endeavour is, pledging some serious support for the under-valued STEM subjects.

As manufacturers of high-quality components that are integral to the engineering community, such as torsion springs, we’re delighted that these new minds are tackling real life issues head on, and are coming up with such positive solutions. For any enquiries about our products, contact us on 01535 643 456 and our team will be delighted to help.