Andy Peck, a Product Design lecturer at Coleg Cambria, and partner Mari Ball, who teaches Business Studies and Economics, have based themselves at the college’s £15m Deeside Sixth Form centre to manufacture PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) to help in the fight against the global Coronavirus pandemic.
Using materials paid for by the institution – including polypropylene and acetate sheets – they have already created more than 1,000 masks and will continue to make them “as long as there is demand” over the coming weeks.
“We were trying to work out what would be the most constructive thing to do to help when we saw the request that went out for companies and organisations with the capability to produce and distribute PPE,” said Andy, from Mold.
“There is a community of design and technology teachers online who are coming up with solutions, and after identifying a template for a laser-cut safety visor I multiplied that so we could start to make eight at a time.
“We’ve been manufacturing about 150 a day and have been here day-in day-out; this is our third week now and as long as there is demand we will continue.”
He added: “Ironically in 30 years of teaching it’s the first time Mari and I have ever worked over the Easter Holidays, and I’m a part-time lecturer doing this for more than 40 hours a week, but it’s rewarding to do something that can help.
“The college has been incredibly supportive, paying for the materials and allowing us access to the facilities. Everyone just wants to help at this challenging time.”
Once completed, the masks are being boxed up and distributed via the Flintshire hub in Sandycroft to care homes and frontline workers.
Meanwhile, other Cambria lecturers and staff have been busy producing essential PPE from home, including Foundation Skills tutor Rachael Muia, who is making headbands for nurses at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool, as hours of wearing face masks has left their ears sore and in pain.
And Deputy Director of Advanced Engineering, Alex Evans, and colleagues have been manufacturing safety visors from their homes using 3D printers.
“The effort from staff has been amazing, they’ve really stepped up in sacrificing their time to help those who need it most,” said Alex Thomas, Assistant Principal and Director of General Education at Coleg Cambria.
“As well as these acts of kindness, all of the PPE from our sixth form centres in Deeside and Wrexham has been donated to local care homes.
“On behalf of the college can I thank Andy, Mari and everyone who is going over and above to support our frontline and NHS workers – we are very proud of you all.”
For more on Coleg Cambria, visit the website www.cambria.ac.uk