Student from Bishop’s Stortford is given the opportunity to design and make prototype gym equipment

25 July 2016

A local company has been doing their bit to create Hertfordshire’s workforce of tomorrow by offering work experience to the county’s young people.

Alloy Fabweld, an architectural metalwork company based in Great Dunmow, hosted a week-long placement for Harry O’Dwyer from the Bishop’s Stortford High School. The school works with Youth Connexions to provide work experience to all its 155 Year 10 students. In this case Harry identified the placement himself and it was risk assessed by Youth Connexions for the school.

Group MD, Shaun Pledger said “Alloy Fabweld and its brands are highly committed to helping students realise their skills, particularly with the UK’s engineering skills shortage. We are happy to support and work alongside the local Youth Connexions team to get as many students enthusiastic about steel as we can. We find that when the students see the results of their own work it gives them confidence, motivation and makes them proud of their achievements”.

Alloy Fabweld made the most of Harry’s interest in sport by getting him to work on their newest brand ‘Rebel Strength Ltd’, designers and manufacturers of gym and fitness equipment. Rebel’s MD, Andy Wilby, gave Harry the task of researching, designing and making a new Strongman/Rugby prototype light-weight prowler a popular type of workout machine, which would be added to the product range.

Harry Working
Harry working on the ‘prowler’

Over the week Harry used computer-aided design (CAD) technology to design the item and then in the workshop to make his plans into a practical piece of equipment.

Andy Wilby commented, “Harry completed all the tasks really well and was very keen to learn. He picked up the practical side well with guidance from our fabricators. Harry was a great part of the Rebel team – because he did such a great job, we let Harry take the prowler frame home so he can use it himself and we will donate a prowler directly to the school too.”

The finished article

Photos courtesy of Andy Wilby

Youth Connexions is looking for more employers in both Hertfordshire and Essex. If your company would like to help introduce the next generation to work by offering work experience placements, please contact David Hoskins at Youth Connexions on 01438 844475 or