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FIRST Tech Challenge UK 2019-20

28th January 2020

Four Post 16 and two Year 11 students travelled to Bristol for the South West Regionals on Tuesday 28th January.  Jon Pask, Toby Songhurst, Ewan and Will Swann, Corben Heath and Joseph Terry – Team George.

The team underwent close scrutiny during the day with judging in the following areas: presentation of their robot to a panel of engineers, an inspection of their robot to ensure it meets all safety regulations and competition criteria, software engineers checking their programming skills and of course the field matches.  Fourteen qualifying matches were played in alliance with other teams. Team George played in four alliance matches and won three, moving nail-bitingly from last place to 2nd at one point.  New alliances were put in place for the semi-finals and finals.  The team demonstrated excellent teamwork and resilience throughout the day and were justifiably rewarded with The Control Award and an invitation to the UK Final. They will now compete at London’s Copper Box Arena, The Olympic Park on the 27th and 28th March 2020, with five teams progressing to represent the UK at the FIRST World Championships in Detroit, USA.

The students have been very fortunate to benefit from mentoring, at their weekly after-College sessions, by Mr Len Newton.  Len’s engineering knowledge and experience has proved invaluable to the project, alongside Ms Gifford and myself. 
What is First Tech Challenge about?

Teams of young people aged 12-18 design, build and programme a robot to complete a Star Wars-themed challenge: SKYSTONETM. Established FIRST Tech Challenge UK to address the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) skills gap, increase social mobility and build career aspirations. Reported by Engineering UK, over 203,000 engineers are needed each year to meet the nation’s growing demand, with an annual shortfall of 83,000-110,000 – a shortfall that is echoed throughout the STEM landscape. Meanwhile, a lack of diversity and skills feeding the pipeline is harming the UK’s ability to remain globally competitive. This challenge is bigger than us or any other STEM programme in the UK. There is a need to innovate and to do so as a unified force for change.  By collaborating with industry partners in STEM and critical friends who share an ambition to bridge the gap between the classroom and the workplace, we can collectively impact as many young people as possible.

Mrs Laura Hocking
Head of Technology and Enterprise Faculty