Students from three Dorset schools went head-to-head in a problem-solving technology tournament.

For the second year running, pupils from Year 7 and Year 9 from Wey Valley, Budmouth College and All Saints took part in an engineering competition hosted by Weymouth Rotary Club.

The students were tasked with building a space launch vehicle which could launch a golf ball three metres into the air and have it return to the exact same spot and land on their launch pad.

To make it even harder, their launch vehicle had to be activated remotely from a distance of one metre.

Each school entered two teams – one foundation and one intermediate.

Design and technology teacher at Budmouth, Jane Morris, said the students had been “brilliant” and were fully engaged in the task throughout the day.

Rotarians David Langridge, Kevin Vincent and Roger Fry were instrumental in organising the events.

David said the idea behind the event was to help equip students with skills for the world of work.

He added: “There’s still a lack of students coming out of school with skills in STEM subjects.

“Even if it encourages one child to want to be an engineer we have achieved something.”

The event was sponsored by Weymouth-based Sirius Business Systems Ltd.

Director of Sirius, Gary Hepburn said: “I’m really keen to support it and it’s really good for youngsters to have this kind of science and tech skills and encourage them to use their brains.

“Some students are not very ‘academic’ in the traditional sense but are good at problem solving and teamwork and that’s what engineering and science is all about.”

Technology teacher at Wey Valley, Jim Mackavoy, said the teamwork among his students had been ‘fantastic’ and they had worked well at allocating duties.

Paul Radford, head of technology at All Saints said although his students didn’t win he was really pleased with the work they had done.

“They helped out other teams they were in competition with and relayed information to them.

“They’ve made friendships with pupils at the other schools and it’s nice to se them get on together,” he said.

Dorchester and Weymouth area school liaison officer at the Institute of Mechanical Engineering took the lead in judging the competition.

Wey Valley took home the prize for the foundation category and Budmouth won the intermediate.

Weymouth and Portland Mayor, Cllr Kevin Brookes was on hand to hand out the prizes.

“We came into the room and could just feel the good, positive vibes. There was lots of chattering and work going on. It’s really good to get the schools together and Budmouth in particular is good for technology. It’s nice that it’s been able to continue,” he said.