Ollie Pendleton


Maths, Physics, Design & Technology, Computing

Ollie worked in the design team for Land Rover BAR on its challenge for the 35th America's Cup. In this role Ollie took ideas and developed them into solutions that can be built and added to the race boat. A lot of his time was spent working through problems in design software.

Briefly describe a typical day for you at the Land Rover BAR base.

My day is spent working on various solutions for the race or test boats - a lot of this time is spent working through problems in CAD (a computer-modelling programme), but there is also a lot of interaction with the builders and sailors.

What degree(s) did you study to end up in a role like yours?

Yacht & Powercraft Design BEng at Southampton Institute.

Why do you think studying STEM subjects at school is important?

I couldn't do the job I do today without a good understanding of STEM topics.

If you could do another job in STEM, what would it be?

I have also worked as a product design engineer which is really interesting - I have designed products that have production runs of over 100,000 and are sold in high street stores all around the world. It's very satisfying to see something you have designed for sale in shops and being used by people all around the world.

Briefly describe what you thought of STEM subjects in school, and whether your opinion has changed now?

I didn't pay much attention in school as I wanted to be a professional sailor - when I later decided I wanted to work in design and engineering, I then had to retake maths and physics A-Levels to get into university.

What has been the highlight of your role so far?

Definitely working as test engineer in Bermuda. I got to travel in the chase boat and monitor the data coming in from the test boat ahead - all while travelling at 40 knots! Similar to that of a pit wall engineer in F1.

What would be your advice for young people interested in pursuing a career in STEM?

Pay attention - it's much harder the second time around!

Name a STEM topic or skill which you learnt at school that you still use in your current role, and how you apply it.

Trigonometry. I use some sort of trig at least once a day.

Give us a fun fact about yourself.

I once completed a Rubix cube in under three minutes..

And for bonus points, what's your best STEM joke?

A mathematician, a physicist, and an engineer are all given identical rubber balls and told to find the volume. They are given anything they want to measure it, and have all the time they need. The mathematician pulls out a measuring tape and records the circumference. He then divides by two and times by pi to get the radius, cubes that, multiplies by pi again, and then multiplies by four-thirds and thereby calculates the volume.The physicist gets a bucket of water, places 1.00000 gallons of water in the bucket, drops in the ball, and measures the displacement to six significant figures. And the engineer? He writes down the serial number of the ball, and looks it up.