1,000 visors a day

May 27, 2020

College co-founded by Network Rail produces PPE for key workers


Caption: Protective visors produced for key workers

Students and staff at Sir Simon Milton Westminster University Technical College (UTC) in London are applying their time during the COVID-19 lockdown to manufacture PPE for NHS frontline staff, using the college’s specialist engineering workshop facilities with capacity to make over 1,000 visors a day.

The next generation of professional engineers:

The college, co-founded by Network Rail, aims to educate 14 to 19-year-olds to become the next generation of professional engineers, technicians and innovators. With a focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), students can access a range of state-of-the art equipment including laser cutters and 3D printers – technology that is now being used to help the national effort. 

Replicating a design created by Portsmouth University, the protective visors are flat-packed, and can be completely disinfected for re-use. To cover the cost of raw materials, the college is reliant on donors and has set up a GoFundMe page which has, to date, raised over £4,600. To ensure the visors reach those most in need, the college delivers directly to NHS Royal Brompton Hospital and primary schools who are planning for the safe return of their students, and works with charity partners to provide a supply of PPE for health centres across the UK.

The tech and volunteers to make it happen:

James Stuart, assistant head teacher at Westminster UTC​, said: “In these difficult times it’s great to know that we’re doing something to help key workers on the front line. We have the technology and the volunteers to make it happen, and I’m incredibly proud of the work we’ve done so far. A partnership of GP surgeries recently contacted us to explain that what we were donating to them has significantly helped and supported their response, as they had no one else to turn to.

“Of course, the welfare of our volunteers is a priority. Staff and students on the assembly line adhere to social distancing and are provided with PPE themselves; visors, masks & gloves. We’ve also adopted routines of hand washing and using disinfectant to clean the visors before they are packaged.”

"A great initiative!":

Bill Templeton, Governor and Trustee for Westminster UTC on behalf of Network Rail, said: “What a great initiative! All credit to the students and staff involved who are giving up their time for this worthy cause and helping to keep our key workers safe. The ability to produce 1,000 visors a day is phenomenal and, with the help of generous donors, we hope the college can continue to support the national effort.”​​​​