College engineers protective equipment for healthcare staff

Engineering staff at South Essex College have produced almost 200 plastic ‘ear savers’ for health workers.

The ‘ear savers’ sit at the back on the head and allow users to hook the elastic of face masks over the device rather than their ears, making them more comfortable to wear.

Mark Dickson, Engineering Lecturer, has been using equipment at the college’s Luckyn Lane site in Basildon to produce the items. The wider Engineering team has been working remotely drawing up designs and liaising with healthcare professionals to understand what is needed in the sector.

They are now being donated to staff working in healthcare settings, with the college donating the first batch to staff at Doris Jones Ltd, a home healthcare service in Southend.

Andy Crissell, Engineering Curriculum Head, said he was delighted the college was able to support healthcare workers.

He said: “We are all in this pandemic together and we are doing what we can to support those who are caring for others in this time.

“There were a lot of options to explore and we decided to go down this route as the ear savers were relatively quick to mass produce, require no assembly and they can be cleaned easily between uses.

While the college has the equipment to produce more items, the existing provision of material has been exhausted. The college is now asking for local companies to help by donating supplies of PLA filament with a diameter of 1.75mm.

Once the college is able to produce more of the items, they will be distributed to other healthcare settings across the south Essex community.

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Success stories

Celebrating Success 2022: Joe Carroll

Celebrating Success 2022: Joe Carroll

Course studied

Engineering Level 3 National Foundation Diploma

I would recommend South Essex College because the timetable is great for someone to get a part time job outside of college.

Engineering Student of the Year, Joe Carroll started the year as a shy student lacking confidence, however, his commitment to the course and excellent attitude towards learning has seen him start to develop into an excellent student, both in the academic areas and socially.

Joe said: “It was a good feeling to receive the award because it felt nice for my hard work to be recognised.

“The thing I like most about my course is that it's assignment based, there is a lot less stress because I know it all doesn't come down to one big exam.

“My biggest achievement so far has to be achieving a merit in my engineering principles exam.”

Joe’s tutor said: “Joe’s attitude towards learning is to be applauded and he always takes on board the feedback given to him. Joe is highly motivated and works well individually and as part  of a team within the class. Joe’s attendance and punctuality is exemplary. He achieved a well-earned merit in the external exam in January 2022 and all assignment work is submitted ahead of time and to a high standard. Joe has developed from a quiet student to a potentially skilled future engineer whose values and approach to his studies are an example to his fellow students.”

Joe said: “I would recommend South Essex College because the timetable is great for someone to get a part time job outside of college. My plan is to get an apprenticeship at British Rail as an engineer.”