MAN Group
Design & Make Challenge design and make challenge


Design & Make Challenge

The MAN Group’s Design & Make Challenge is back and bigger than ever with the intention of inspiring up to fifty Year 11 & Year 12 students to consider a career in engineering, manufacturing and technology.

Due to be held at the Junction Building, University of Warwick the one-day challenge is looking for schools or colleges to come forward to enter a team to see if they have what it takes to win the main title and a selection of prizes that include company experience visits.

The concept is simple; one day, one brief, but many possible outcomes. Students are challenged with designing and making a mechanical device (details revealed on the day) using just basic tools and materials.

They’re offered support from apprentices and engineers from the eight MAN companies and encouraged to develop their ideas through trial and analysis. The devices are then tested by a suitably qualified panel of engineers, with prizes awarded to the schools under three different categories – Efficiency, Innovation and Manufacturing.

2018, 2019 & 2022’s challenges were a phenomenal success and the feedback we’ve received from pupils and teachers has encouraged us to do as much as we can to engage young people who may be considering a career in engineering by showing them some of the skills that will help them develop in this field.

We’d also like to encourage those who aren’t currently following a STEM path but think they might enjoy getting to grips with technical problem-solving.

The Challenge gave us the opportunity to work in a team, contribute our own ideas to the design, test it and then refine it into the best vehicle out of all the schools. It’s definitely given me a taste of what a career in engineering looks like and I’m keen to find out more.


2024 date TBC


The Junction Building, University of Warwick, 6 University Rd, Coventry CV4 7EQ


Schools can register their interest online

Design & Make Challenge design and make challenge

Design & Make Challenge in Numbers

352 hours of hands-on practical manufacturing for young people

Three Ultimaker 3D printers given out as prizes (courtesy of Create Education)

Over £25,000 of press coverage secured

7 MAN company visits completed by schools

The Design & Make Challenge presents participants with real challenges that require creative problem-solving, thus fostering critical thinking and innovation, skills that are not only important in the field of engineering and manufacturing but also in many aspects of life.

This video includes testimonies from some of the people behind the organisation of the event, explaining the benefits of the Design & Make Challenge to not just students, but young people in general. The challenge can be a glimpse into potential career paths, as it exposes the next generation to various aspects of manufacturing, design, and engineering, helping them make informed decisions about their future careers.

The UK’s biggest independent STEM event crowned four major winners in a competition that attracted more than 80 pupils keen to get an insight into engineering. The Year 10, Year 11 and Year 12 students split up into teams of four to design, test and build an aircraft. Using just a box of simple materials and a selection of hand tools, they had to work together to create a machine that could be launched from a pair of purpose-built air cannons.

During the eight-hour challenge, pupils were able to tap into the expertise of Manufacturing Assembly Network apprentices and WMG engineers. What followed was the largest Design & Make Challenge ever held by the Manufacturing Assembly Network. In this video, you can hear the thoughts of some of the students who took part in 2023’s Design & Make Challenge.

Organised by the Manufacturing Assembly Network (MAN), more than 35 students swapped their daily lessons for the chance to test out their design, engineering, prototyping and communication skills at the 2022 Design and Make Challenge held at WMG Academy for Young Engineers in Solihull.

Teams of four Year 11 and Year 12 pupils were set the challenge of using basic materials and tools to make a vehicle that could be propelled by a falling weight. They tested their devices, modified them and then raced them on a purpose-built 7.5m long track to see which one would complete the distance in the fastest possible time – a race that WMG Academy Coventry won in just 3.64 seconds.

More than 40 Year 11 pupils and A-Level students swapped their daily lessons to take part in the Design & Make challenge 2019, funded by the MAN Group and designed to inspire young people to consider a career in engineering by encouraging them to work together and ‘problem solve’.

The four-strong teams were given a box of goodies they could use to build a vehicle, which would be propelled by a pendulum’s impact, ensuring their designs could withstand the ‘strike’ whilst minimising weight.

Register your interest

Schools can use the form below to register their interest in the 2023 Design & Make Challenge or email Annie at

    WMG Academy for Young Engineers

    WMG Academy for Young Engineers (Solihull)
    Chelmsley Rd, Fordbridge, Birmingham B37 5FD


      Manufacturing disciplines required

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