Two young engineers among winners at CU Coventry Student Awards

A student’s ingenious invention to help his grandfather move more freely has been honoured with an award.

Olabode Ariyo, who won ‘Student of the Year’.

A CU Coventry student’s ingenious invention to help his grandfather move more freely in his wheelchair has been honoured with a ‘Student of the Year’ award.

Olabode Ariyo, an Electro-Mechanical Engineering student at CU Coventry – part of the Coventry University Group – designed a special wheelchair controller for his grandfather as part of a final-year project for his course.

He was recognised alongside other outstanding CU Coventry students at the awards ceremony, held at its new state-of-the-art Mile Lane campus.

Olabode said, “I had seen my granddad struggle with his mobility for many years, so I knew I wanted to try and help him with my final year project. Instead of creating a traditional hand-operated wheelchair controller, I wanted to build something that responded to head movement. 

“Studies have shown that many people who use wheelchairs struggle to use hand-operated controllers, so I knew my invention could help many people if I was able to get the design right.

“Thanks to the help of my tutors and a lot of hard work, I was able to build my prototype controller, which I think could have multiple applications for those with disabilities. I’m so happy CU Coventry thought my project was inspiring – it’s a real honour to have been named Student of the Year.”

Lucy Farrington, winner of the ‘Career Development Award’.

Another winner on the night was 21-year-old Jaguar Land Rover employee Lucy Farrington, who scooped the Career Development Award.

She is sponsored by JLR to study Management and Leadership at CU Coventry once a week after being scouted by the firm for an apprenticeship when she was just 16.

“The course here at CU Coventry has given me a big boost to my confidence in the workplace – it’s really practical and has definitely improved my work at JLR. I love coming here to study – Mile Lane’s facilities are excellent and the staff and my fellow students are all so helpful,” Lucy said.

“It’s fantastic to have won the Career Development Award. CU Coventry have always been so supportive of my career so I really have to thank everyone.”

The Student Awards, now in their second year, shined a light on students who have come up with inventive ideas, reached a level of outstanding achievement, or demonstrated real skill during their studies.

Hosted by Customer Service and Experience Operations Manager at CU Coventry Richard Maybery-Woolfe, the evening started with light refreshments before students and their families moved upstairs for the ceremony.

The ceremony was opened and closed by Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor of CU Coventry Jackie Mathers, who congratulated all the winners and runners-up.

Speaking after the ceremony, Jackie said, “Every student who received an award should be very proud of their amazing achievements and they will all progress and make a difference to the world in which we live and work.

“Olabode’s story behind his innovative controller was incredibly moving, and it has the potential to change the lives of so many people. He has worked very hard during his final year to bring his idea to fruition, so he was the obvious choice for the Student of the Year award.”

“We wish Olabode and all the other winners all the very best as they continue to study at CU Coventry or go on to the world of work.”

The winners in full were:

Student of the Year – Winner: Olabode Ariyo 

Inspirational Achiever – Winner: Ping Wan

Career Development – Winner: Lucy Farrington

Outstanding Effort – Winner: Serena Bird

Student Voice – Winner: Pooja Rathod

Entrepreneurial initiative – Winner: Andrae Campbell

Apprenticeship Excellence – Winner: Tim Hardie

Rising Star – Winner: Idris Khalil

Student Ambassador of the year – Winner: Sharvini Gnanakumaran

Community and Volunteering- Winner: Katherine Greenhalgh 

Project Excellence – Winner: Kathryn Duncan