STUDENTS at the Southall campus of Ealing, Hammersmith & West London College were encouraged to think of themselves as inventors by former Southall mechanical engineering student and inventor of the wind-up radio, Trevor Baylis.

The world renowned inventor, whose radio gained recognition from global leaders such as Nelson Mandela, spoke about his early years as a swimming champion, through to his career as a stunt man and the events that led him to inventing the wind-up radio.

Trevor credited his inventive spirit to a toy given to him by his father.

“Probably the best thing that happened to me was that my father taught me how to use a Meccano set,” he said.

“It was fantastic because I learned how to use nuts, bolts, screws, washers, chains, gears and it stayed with me all my life.

“I was a mechanical engineer by the time I was five or six because of my dad.”

He had some stirring words for his young audience.

“We are all inventors,” he said. “It's not just a question of the particular course or qualification.

“You've got to bring people into the equation and remind them that sometimes you bring a plumber in to fix something when you could do it yourself in about 20 minutes with bit of tape and a spanner.

“We've got to get people hands on, get them learning the basic skills. It's an everybody-wins situation.”

Lecturer Amina Dadey, who organised the talk, said: “It was an honour to host someone who has achieved so much in his lifetime.”

Since its launch in 2011, the college’s Key Stage 4 department in Southall has grown rapidly to more than 100 students aged 14-16.