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Launched at Oxfordshire Advanced Skills during UK Disability History Month, the second Emma Wiggs Challenge is now underway!

Engineering apprentices at OAS are taking on a new challenge set by double Paralympic Champion, Emma Wiggs. Emma visited the training centre in December to launch the competition in which first year apprentices are asked to use their design engineering skills to improve life for people with disabilities.

Emma Wiggs MBE is an 11-time world champion paracanoeist and double paralympic champion, having won gold medals at the Rio and Tokyo Paralympics. Since a mystery virus impaired mobility in her legs at age 18, Emma has dedicated herself to sport, inspiring people as she shows what is possible with determination and a positive mindset.

The Emma Wiggs Challenge is an exclusive competition, designed by OAS in partnership with Emma, which tasks engineering apprentices at OAS to find solutions for challenges that people with disabilities might face in everyday life, through design and manufacture. It could be something wheelchair-based or relate to an everyday task which someone with a disability might find more challenging.

Apprentices are forming small teams to work on their design concepts, with Emma hosting virtual workshops over the course of the challenge, enabling each team to ask questions and refine their design concepts. Teams then present their concepts and ideas to Emma and a panel of judges in April, as they near the end of the first year of their apprenticeship with OAS. Entries will be judged against a series of criteria including research, innovation, presentation skills, the usefulness of the problem it solves and its potential to be produced.

The winners will spend a day with Emma Wiggs at the National Water Sports Centre in Nottingham where they will get a behind-the-scenes tour of the facility and try some water-based activities as part of their prize.

Emma Johnstone, Head of Finance and Operations at MTC Training, said, “It’s been amazing to have Emma Wiggs here again to meet our apprentices, share her experiences and help inspire them to achieve their maximum potential, as well as look at how their engineering skills can provide support for the real challenges people with disabilities face in their daily lives.”

Emma Wiggs said, “It’s a privilege to come back to OAS and work with the first-year apprentices who are beginning their engineering careers. I was absolutely blown away by the innovative solutions that last year’s finalists produced. As I train for my own, next challenge, and work towards qualifying and competing at the 2024 Paralympics in Paris - I hope to inspire this year’s apprentices to take on the challenge of creating new design concepts to help people with disabilities. I can’t wait to come back in April to see the ideas and solutions that the apprentices come up with!”

More information on the Emma Wiggs Challenge on the OAS website:

More information about Emma Wiggs on Emma’s website: