Sir Henry Royce Awards

Awards and Prizes

Although the main function of the Foundation remains the preservation and secure holding of archives and memorabilia of the life and works of Sir Henry, special emphasis is given to the encouragement of apprentices and young engineers, and the promotion of careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The Sir Henry Royce Memorial Foundation MOD Award 2016

In 1982 the Ministry of Defence accepted an invitation from the Foundation to nominate one of its civilian engineering apprentices (or group of apprentices) for awards for work considered to be of outstanding merit and in the tradition of excellence of engineering design and quality of workmanship for which Sir Henry was renowned. Given the need of the Foundation to strictly maintain and preserve the high standards of these awards, they were only given on merit and were therefore not awarded automatically each year. The competition was held at The Hunt House, and candidates would come from any or all of the MOD’s six training establishments, spend a day at The Hunt House, and have their artefacts and paperwork appraised by a panel of experts chosen by the SHRMF. The winner would receive his award in December at a ceremony held in London.

The competition was reviewed in 2014, and revamped both to bring it more in line with the demands and challenges MOD places on its engineers in the 21st Century and also to provide a more level playing field for the contestants who now all perform the same task, use the same equipment and the same facilities, and do so in the same place and timescale. And so in early August 2016 our five hopefuls, all of them having just completed their first year of the MOD apprenticeship, arrived at the Defence Academy at Shrivenham to spend a week in the Technology School, a leading edge teaching and learning facility, along with some sixty-five other apprentices taking part in other competitions, a wonderful opportunity to meet and work with colleagues from schemes based around the country, share experience and create common thinking.

The previous March a meeting had taken place at Shrivenham where representatives of the competition management team and the Foundation had agreed on the task to be set: on this occasion, and in the interests of finding an item that was relevant both to the military and the motorist, the choice had fallen on the making of an Entrenching Tool or Collapsible Shovel. During the ensuing months the technical staff at the Academy had fabricated a typical example using the same tools and facilities available to the candidates, produced a nine-page illustrated guide on how each component of this example had been executed, and produced a detailed brief of the task to be accomplished, including advice on quality of build, sturdiness, and design features. They had also been to Halfords and purchased the folding shovel on offer there as an example! Whatever else, the end result must do its job.

Armed with these detailed documents, and able to handle and discuss the merits and manufacture of the two examples, the candidates spent the next four days producing their response and making a spirited attempt to carry out the final instruction on their brief – “Have fun”. On the fifth day they faced their inquisitors in the shape of Foundation Directors Philip Hall and Steve Byrne and these two spent a productive morning interviewing the participants and discussing their experiences over the previous few days, followed by a practical test outside. The pictures, captions and comments from mark sheets tell their own story about the judges’ pleasure at the high standards achieved: Sir Henry would have approved both of the competition and its outcome.