Graduate uses Hammermen prize money to help others in Malawi

The Department of Design, Manufacture & Engineering Management’s students have a long tradition of success at the Glasgow Hammermen Awards - and 2015 was no exception.

There are two top prizes - the Prince Philip Prizes - and this year Jose Hidalgo-Clyne, who recently graduated with an MEng in Product Design Engineering, with Distinction, was one of the recipients of this prize.

Jose will attend a dinner hosted by the Incorporation of Hammermen in November 2015 where he will be formally presented with his award.

Students for Malawi

The prize includes £1,500, which Jose used to help fund his six-week voluntary placement in Chisitu, Malawi, through the charity ‘Students for Malawi’, where he worked on a wind turbine building project.

Speaking about his experiences of the competition, Jose said: “The first stage of the Hammerman Awards examines you as an individual and as an engineer to ensure that you are well rounded.

I think my involvement in societies, my work experience and other achievements during my time at university complemented my consistently good academic results. The interview had an emphasis on how I would spend the £300 prize money – and in my case it would go towards my trip to Malawi.

For the Prince Philip Awards, all Hammermen Award winners compete for a further prize of £1,500. This involved Jose submitting a report, giving details of work experience and experiences of his final year at university, followed by an interview with two individuals from the Incorporation of Hammermen.

Jose Hidalgo-Clyne, MEng Product Design Engineering, receiving Hammermen Award

Jose said: "Whilst they were highly interested in the charity work... in Malawi, they were also interested in my achievements during my university years, taking great interest in the industrial experience opportunities which my programme offered me through internships and 4th and 5th year industrial projects at the Department of Design, Manufacture & Engineering Management.

"In July I travelled to Chisitu, Malawi to embark on a six-week voluntary placement. The ‘emPower Chisitu’ programme saw the creation of an off-grid energy generation and supply chain in Chisitu, an area within the Traditional Authority Chimbuku (with a 71,736 population) in the Mulanje District, Southern Malawi. In the District, 88.8% of the population currently have no access to electricity.

"During my voluntary placement, three locally produced wind turbines were added to the wind park, each of which will generate enough power for charging eight energy kiosks.

"The project also aims to teach local Malawians how to source materials and tools and build the wind turbines from scratch – ensuring the project is self-sustainable. With an additional aim to promote gender equality, the project allows women to run energy kiosks from their homes or the nearby trading centre. Each of the 24 kiosks are supplied initially with 10 Home Power Packs for renting out. These packs are required to be re-charged on average every four days at the kiosks. On returning one the customer receives a freshly charged battery, and the female entrepreneurs recharge empty battery boxes at the nearby battery bank at the wind park.

"I have always been interested in renewables and this is the message I conveyed to the interviewees at the Hammermen Awards. Prior to university I was involved in a group called the Woodcraft Folk where I helped to manufacture a product allowing people to turn handles to generate electricity and play music - this was used at their workshops on renewables in Primary Schools.

During university I was a 2014 Saltire Scholar and managed to secure an internship with Envision Solar in San Diego, California who design, engineer, fabricate and install electric vehicle solar charging structures - allowing cars to run on power from the sun! And of course this summer I was building wind turbines in Malawi!

"I very much enjoyed the challenge in Malawi and ensuring that I put my prize money to what I believe was a very good cause.”