More than 500 London schoolchildren joined 200 scientists, engineers and technologists to get a taste of the reality of careers in technology and engineering, at the Copper Box Arena on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
With the government announcing plans to turn the park into an education and cultural hub for the UK – TeenTech City saw the innovators of tomorrow take part in an exciting line up of activities and experiments at the venue – showcasing just how their passion and skills could lead to rich and fulfilling careers in industry.
During the day, schoolchildren aged 12-14 took part in a variety of challenges set up by key STEM industry players including IBM, National Grid, JVC and Samsung. Tasks were set throughout the day to test the innovation and creativity of the children and help them develop a set of skills which can be translated in to the school environment and later into a career.
This year, challenges included testing the DNA of strawberries, put together by produce group S&A, and an activity involving a food truck that takes your favourite ingredients and turns them into never-seen-before dishes by IBM.
To mark the launch of the organisation’s research mission for 2015 to uncover teenagers’ real views on science and technology – TeenTech found that over 75% of the girls attending were actively interested in becoming engineers by the end of the day’s events – growing from just 39% in the space of hours.
Over 70% of the youngsters also said that interactive events such as this are the primary way they want to learn about technology careers, over things like careers advisers and online tools.
TeenTech is the brainchild of BBC Tomorrow’s World presenter Maggie Philbin and works with teenagers from across the Britain to open their eyes to the career opportunities available within science, engineering and technology. The industry-led initiative aims to blur the lines between education and employment by showing young people how enjoyable the subjects can be while providing huge employment opportunities.
Prior to attending the event, pupils had been set the TeenTech City of Tomorrow challenge to get them designing a building and open space for a city of the future. The pupils showcased their designs at the event with the winning team awarded with a trip to Gensler for a day’s workshop and industry visit.
Technology Will Save Us, a UK design-led tech start up, attended the event to inspire the new creative generation about the power of technology to solve problems and creative inventive solutions. The school children road-tested a new product commissioned by TeenTech – a DIY inventor’s kit – to help students taking part in the TeenTech Awards in developing their ideas to make life better, simpler and easier.
TeenTech uses insight from its events to shape its engagement around the country – its research shows that experiential challenges effectively change perceptions and provide a valuable insight to future jobs at a time when subject choices at school are most important.
Speaking at the event, Maggie Philbin said: “Today’s celebrations are the result of a strong collaboration between our supporting companies who help us bring technology and the career opportunities within it to life. Our research proves that interactive sessions like these with real businesses of today – are the number one way students want to hear about these opportunities. Our mission next year aims to actively bring these views of our young generation straight in front of key players in the industry who can make that difference and shape the opportunities for young minds before it’s too late.”