Class of 2020 – Harvey Ryder, Year 13 - Student Stories - UTC Leeds

Aspiring Astronaut Harvey Ryder is fulfilling his dream to gain a place on a prestigious Aerospace course at University of Southampton

Since the age of 12, Harvey Ryder has wanted to go on a very specific course at the University of Southampton. Now, after studying Engineering at UTC Leeds, he has been accepted onto the Aeronautics and Astronautics Engineering degree course, so his dream has come true.

He said, “Initially, I want to be a test pilot with the Royal Air Force, so it all joins up, but failing that, or after that, I’d like to become a space craft engineer for one of the companies in aerospace and eventually an astronaut.

“The course at Southampton takes four years to get a Masters in Engineering. The first two years will be focused on general engineering shared between aerospace and mechanics, then in the third year I can start specialising in spacecraft engineering.

“I joined UTC Leeds in the sixth form in 2018 from Hanson Academy in Bradford. I’ve always wanted to go into engineering so the UTC course was just perfect. I looked round at different options, but as soon as I saw the UTC, I had my heart set on coming here because of the facilities and the dedication to engineering.”

Harvey studied A Level Maths and Physics with Double Engineering, focusing on Mechatronics, which is a combination of mechanical engineering and electronics. He also did an Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) in Year 13. He gained an A* in Maths, A* in his EPQ, a Distinction* Distinction* in Engineering, and an A* in Physics.

Asked what he most enjoyed about his time at the UTC, Harvey said, “There’s a lot to choose from but I’d have to choose the extra-curricular opportunities. The courses have been excellent, especially the teachers, but the opportunities offered outside of the courses have made the difference. On your uni application you add your predicted grades and then write a personal statement about yourself. The UTC made it possible for me to include things like the First Tech Challenge robotics competition I competed in and the Engineering Taster Week I completed at BAE Systems, giving me an advantage above many other applicants for the course.

“My favourite project was probably the Rev Robotics First Tech Challenge where I was the project manager. It was great to be able to develop my leadership skills, especially given the tight deadline, and to work alongside my friends.”

Harvey was able to put his manufacturing skills to good use during the recent “lockdown” caused by Covid-19 by making Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to help the NHS and care homes. He started making face shields on his home 3D printer then was supported by the UTC to make more using UTC equipment. In all, Harvey made 2,200 face shields which went to Leeds General Infirmary and St James, as well as Huddersfield Hospital, care homes and local shops. In-between, he has been doing Further Maths in his own time to prepare for university.

Asked what he would say to students in Year 9 or Year 11 considering the UTC, Harvey said, “If you’re interested in engineering and want to get a head start for your career, then this is the place to come.”


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