Empowering Eduction: OCS & UTC Oxfordshire Collaborate for Employer Led Project

Posted on: 09-05-24 | News

This year, OCS has significantly deepened its involvement with local University Technical Colleges (UTCs), government funded institutions designed to foster education in STEM subjects (Science, Engineering, Technology, and Mathematics). Having exhibited at UTC events in Swindon and Oxfordshire, this year our R&D team designed an Employer Led Project (ELP), which tasked students with engineering projects that mirrored real-world challenges encountered by our own development team.

By tasking students with these projects, we aimed to provide the students with invaluable hands-on experience and expose them to the intricacies of professional problem-solving. This immersive approach was intended to not only enriched students’ learning experiences but also served as a bridge between academic theory and practical application, preparing them for the dynamic demands of the STEM workforce.

The students were equipped with essential components and resources necessary for their respective tasks.


  1. Design Project: A housing for the internal components of the Cryosystem control unit.


              • Motherboard (1)
              • Power switch (2)
              • Power unit (3)
              • Screen (4)





2. Thermodynamic Project: Build a cooling box that has at least 30 l usable internal volume and houses all the refrigerator components provided


              • Compressor unit (1)
              • Flat evaporator plate (2)
              • Thermostat control unit (3)
              • Pipework (4)





3. Mechanical Project: Enhance the provided compressor frame design to reduce any noise & vibration created by the system




              • Aluminium frame made from 45×45 profile
              • Compressor on mounting bracket fitted to the frame






“It was the first time that I have been involved in an ELP project,” said Ionela Bicean (Senior Mechanical Design Engineer) “so it was quite a learning curve, but seeing the student’s excitement when we handed over the components was amazing!”

Throughout a three-term period, Ionela offered weekly guidance and support to the students. She actively mentored the students’ progress, providing them with valuable insights, troubleshooting assistance, and encouragement to overcome challenges.

And once the projects had been completed, members of the OCS design team visited the students at UTC Oxfordshire to judge the students’ efforts.



The team evaluated each project and engaged in constructive discussions with the students, offering feedback, praise and suggestions. “Working with such talented and creative students at UTC Oxfordshire was an absolute pleasure.” said Csaba Salamon (Head of Product Development and Engineering) “The projects completed were full of great ideas.”

In the end though, there could only be one winner. The group tasked with project #3 won the competition for their focused, professional approach and good presentation skills. They were awarded commemorative trophies by our Operations & Technical Director, Dan Bodio.



Emma Reynolds, Head of the School at UTC Oxfordshire, said that “the feedback from students was that it was the best ELP they had completed, and they thoroughly enjoyed tackling these tasks.”


UTCs promote problem solving, teamwork and leadership skills through project-based learning, and with the co-operation of local businesses like Oxford Cryosystems can ensure that UTC students develop these skills and are better prepared to take their first steps into a professional role.