Eastwood student wins inventor award for child’s seat-belt design

TOP INVENTOR -- Matt Smith (second from right) receives his award from (left to right) Emma Clewes, of sponsors MHA Macintyre Hudson,  John Wright, of Central College, and Professor Kevin Morley, guest speaker.

TOP INVENTOR -- Matt Smith (second from right) receives his award from (left to right) Emma Clewes, of sponsors MHA Macintyre Hudson, John Wright, of Central College, and Professor Kevin Morley, guest speaker.

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A student from Eastwood has won a prestigious engineering award for an invention that would improve the safety of children in cars.

Nineteen-year-old Matt Smith was selected by the judging panel as the joint winner of the 2015 Made In Midlands Young Inventor Award, alongside Chris Cahill.

Matt, Chris and fellow finalist, Bailey Parker-Shand, who all go to Central College in Nottingham, battled it out for the accolade, which showcases exciting and innovative engineering design.

Matt’s design of a device for a child’s car seat-belt was a project he undertook as part of his level-3 BTEC diploma in engineering at Central’s Highfields centre. The idea behind it is to stop youngsters undoing their seat-belt when it isn’t safe to do so, and it wowed the judges at the awards ceremony, which was held in Birmingham and attended by the directors of some of the largest manufacturers in the Midlands.

“It was quite a shock to hear my name being read out,” said Matt. “But I was really pleased as I had a lot of family wanting me to win! My father went with me to the ceremony, and he is very proud.

“The Young Inventor is a pretty heavyweight award and I’m sure it will help me out when I’m looking for jobs in the future.”

Made In The Midlands is a privately-run peer group for the bosses of manufacturing and engineering firms in the region. The Young Inventor Award has been running for the past four years to address the problem in the industry of an ageing workforce and a distinct lack of interest in engineering among young people.

The group’s chief operations officer, Charles Addison, said: “Hopefully, Matt will maintain his passion and desire for a career in engineering. As companies search for the next generation, young engineers have innovative ideas that will guaranteee their future success.

“We are entering a new age of engineering -- full of variety and led by quality and design, not cutting prices. To keep this going, we need to encourage students with bright minds.”