BAE apprentices win Make it in Great Britain Challenge

Apprentices from BAE Systems have been declared the winners of the Make it in Great Britain Challenge – a competition launched by the government earlier this year to find the most innovative pre-market products, processes and concepts in the UK.

The team's BedFleX innovation stormed to victory after it went on display for the final week of the Make it in Great Britain exhibition, where members of the public were invited to vote for their favourite of five finalists. The elastic attachment is designed for use by recovering amputees and critical care patients, allowing them to take part in bed-based exercise to aid rehabilitation. Using an innovative attachment, BedFleX enables patients to secure resistance tubing to a stable object (such as the bed) without the risk of the elastic slipping or coming undone – a common problem with existing physiotherapy tools which use resistance tubing. Other innovations that made it to the final included a new technology which could offer relief to tinnitus sufferers, an eco-friendly alternative to everyday cement that could reduce CO2 emissions by up to 90% and a pushchair that can be folded down to a 32 litre-size rucksack. Business Minister Michael Fallon said: "I'd like to congratulate the BedFlex team for their success at winning the Make it in Great Britain Challenge. They have put the skills they gained from their apprenticeships into creating this winning piece of technology. The challenge was launched to seek out some of the most innovative pre-market designs and concepts in modern British manufacturing, of which Bedflex's unique idea is a great example. Sean Gallagher, part of the winning BAE Systems apprentice team, added: "We are extremely proud and honoured to be announced as the winner of the Make it in Great Britain Challenge, and hope our achievement will help to tackle outdated perceptions of the manufacturing sector by highlighting the innovation taking place in Britain today. To see our invention on display at the world-famous Science Museum was a very rewarding experience, and we are delighted to be crowned the overall winner of this national competition – it's an incredible feeling." The BAE Systems apprentices will receive an award for their success at the Best Factory Awards 2012, taking place later this month.