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Students aim high with trip to climbing equipment factory

School learners studying Level 2 Engineering with Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor visited the DMM factory in outdoor pursuits hotspot Llanberis

School students were inspired by a visit to a Snowdonia factory to see how climbing equipment is forged in North Wales.

Learners on the Level 2 BTEC General Engineering course, offered by Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor as part of its schools provision, have been studying the Alpha Wire carabiner produced by local manufacturer DMM.

As part of their course, the students visited the firm’s factory in the outdoor pursuits hotspot of Llanberis, where they watched the process of making and testing the carabiner.

Emlyn Evans, engineering lecturer and programme leader for the 14-16 Level 2 course, said: “The students on the first year of the course are studying the Alpha Wire carabiner as part of their next module ‘Investigating an engineering product’.

“Having a local firm like DMM with its products manufactured in Wales for over 40 years and distributed all around the globe is a great asset for us as an educator in the engineering sector.

“Our annual visit to DMM is normally the first chance any of our students have had to see a working factory. We are so grateful to DMM for the opportunity to collaborate with them and take the learners through all the stages of manufacture and testing of their carabiners ready for despatching worldwide.”

The students, from Ysgol Botwnnog in Pen Llŷn, Ysgol Eifionydd in Porthmadog and Ysgol Glan y Môr in Pwllheli, were shown around the factory by DMM export manager Chris Rowlands.

Emlyn said: “We thank Chris for the time and effort he puts into the plant tours. His expertise, knowledge and passion for the product is evident, and the students always return to college with their worksheets full to the brim with information.

“We also heard that Chris celebrated his 30th anniversary at DMM this year! Congratulations on your long-service anniversary from all of us at Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor.”

Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor works with Ysgol Botwnnog, Ysgol Eifionydd and Ysgol Glan y Môr to provide a wide range of experience for youngsters who wish to explore a career in engineering after completing their GCSEs.

Students can choose to follow the Level 2 BTEC Engineering course in General Engineering, studying four modules over two years.

First-year learners recently completed their first module ‘The Engineering World’ which introduces them to the various sectors within engineering, theoretical knowledge of engineering processes, engineering materials, and developments such as renewable energy and hydrogen fuel cells.

Next year they will follow the same units as the current second-year cohort - including a new computer-aided design (CAD) module which will see them compete in the North Wales F1 in Schools competition.

Emlyn said: “This was the first year we introduced a new CAD module to the level 2 course, and it’s been very successful.

“The learners have all designed their own F1 race car, and chosen the best overall design to go racing.

“The F1 in schools competition is an excellent way for our students to demonstrate the CAD skills they have learnt, which ends up with the students racing their car along a 20-metre track at speeds of up to 35 miles per hour.

“The competition also enhances their team-working skills, including project management, design, manufacturing, finance and entrepreneurship, in a fun and engaging assignment.”

Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor enjoyed a successful competition this year, with three of its five teams winning awards and one of the Level 3 teams qualifying for the UK finals in Rotherham.

Emlyn added: “We look forward to preparing our students for next year’s competition with the new intake of students starting in September.”

  • For learners taking their GCSEs this year, applications are now open for the Level 3 Enhanced Engineering college courses by following this link and clicking ‘Apply Now’. The course is available at Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor in both Dolgellau and Pwllheli, and at Coleg Llandrillo’s Rhyl campus.
  • For the BTEC Level 2 General Engineering course covering the 14-16 provision, students should enquire about the course and available spaces via their school.

For more information on the full range of engineering courses offered by Grŵp Llandrillo Menai, click here.