Manchester student clinches once in a lifetime engineering opportunity on African coffee plantation

By Faye Parr

A Manchester student embarked on a once in a lifetime trip to Africa last week putting his engineering skills to the test to assist in improving the design of a Ugandan coffee plantation.

Robert Stalker, 20, a BSc Product Design and Technology undergraduate at Manchester Metropolitan University, began a six-month placement on July 3 in the small farming town of Nkokonjeru, Uganda.

Robert secured his position with student organisation Engineers Without Borders beating of dozens of applications to become one of only three successful candidates.

His challenge will be to manage and design a wet processing coffee stream, as well as improve the pre-existing coffee bean dryer.

Robert said: “I’m really looking forward to experiencing the difference in culture and learning about living in tough conditions compared to the student living which I am used to.

“It goes without saying how excited I am to but, but also a little nervous as I do not know what to expect when I arrive.”

Robert will also be working with the country’s Rural Agency for Sustainable Development to improve small farmers’ economic and social well-being by improving coffee production yields.

David Heaton, BSc Programme Leader and Senior Product Design Lecturer, said: “He is an outstanding student and we are extremely proud that he has landed this life-changing opportunity for himself. We wish him good luck.”

For more information about Engineers Without Borders and their current opportunities, click here.

Picture courtesy of Trees ForTheFuture via Flickr, with thanks.

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