Iveco Stralis gets set to become the most exciting classroom in the country
An Iveco Stralis Active Time 26 tonner is at the heart of a unique new project which has been set-up by the Hounslow Creative Media Consortium for a group of six schools, colleges and learning centres in the local area.
The project, which is being led by Lampton School and partly funded by the Department for Children, Schools and Families, will use a state-of-the-art outdoor broadcast unit built onto a Stralis 6x2 rigid (AT260S33YFS-D) to support the new specialised diploma qualifications which are being rolled out for 14-19 year olds.
John Hurley, Operations Manager, on behalf of the Hounslow Creative Media Consortium says: “I think we are setting new grounds by purchasing a heavy truck for use as a classroom, but the Stralis will not only help increase the learning opportunities for students involved in the Creative and Media diploma, but will also become a shared resource for other collaborative projects within the borough, and ultimately further afield.
“The new diplomas have been designed to better equip young people for the fast changing world they are growing up in, with the Creative and Media course offering a great opportunity to gain hands-on training to prepare them for a job in this exciting industry,” he explains.
Supplied by local Iveco dealer Grays Truck & Van, the Stralis 6x2 rigid has been specified with an Active Time sleeper cab, which affords ample storage space, double bunks and a central internal height of 1.82 m, allowing the driver plenty of room to stand up. It has been mounted with a bespoke body manufactured by WH Bence and is finished in a striking black livery.
The bodywork is designed to extend outwards on both sides once the vehicle is parked, creating space inside for nine IT workstations, each with dual-bootable Apple Mac computers, additional meeting tables and seating plus a wall-mounted projector. It also incorporates a sound-proof recording studio, together with a modular staging area which can be erected immediately outside the vehicle.
“When the project was first conceived we investigated the feasibility of buying a portacabin to house at one of the schools, but this would have created numerous problems in ferrying students between sites. The beauty of the Stralis is that it can travel between schools and colleges, and even be taken to events where students can experience the real-life pressures of operating ‘in the field’.”
“As part of the procurement process we looked at the five major truck manufacturers in the UK, before selecting the Iveco Stralis based on its excellent product availability and modern styling. It was essential that the truck really looked the part, and in our opinion the image and design of the Stralis fits perfectly with the project,” adds Mr Hurley.
To support this ground-breaking initiative, a team of four staff from across the participating schools, colleges and city learning centres have already completed their LGV driving courses, with two more currently being trained.
“We didn’t anticipate learning to drive a truck when we entered the teaching profession, but as a new skill it counts towards our Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and is something we are all relishing the opportunity to do,” he concludes.
Assisting the drivers will be Iveco’s automated EuroTronic gearbox – standard fitment in all Stralis models – which offers either fully or semi-automated shifts, helping to make driving both safer and more comfortable. This is achieved since the driver can concentrate on the road ahead, rather than on changing gear through a traditional manual gearbox.
Power is provided by a 7.8 litre Euro 5 Cursor 8 engine, which is capable of producing up to 330 hp between 1,660 and 2,400 rev/min, and up to 1,400 Nm of torque between 1,080 and 1,660 rev/min.
It is expected that the new Stralis will remain in operation with the Hounslow Creative Media Consortium for at least 7-10 years, with servicing carried out by the local Iveco dealership.