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Science and technology take centre stage at TeenTech Festival

Published on Tuesday, October 29, 2019

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STUDENTS and pupils from across the region have taken part in an event aimed at showcasing future job opportunities in science and technology.

The TeenTech Leicester Festival last week at Leicester’s Morningside Arena, in Belgrave, brought together hundreds of students from across the region to learn about careers and projects within the booming sectors of science and technology,

It was part of a progamme by the award-winning charity TeenTech, designed to help young people in primary and secondary schools to understand the jobs of tomorrow.

In the run-up to the event, 500 students in primary schools across the city and county had been developing ideas for the ‘smarter, safer, kinder city’ as part of the TeenTech City of Tomorrow international project, the best of which were presented at the festival.

Secondary students will also have the opportunity to learn more at an ongoing series of innovation days hosted by local companies and with links to inspiring global mentors.

Leicester City Council’s Employment Hub has been involved in getting local schools to sign up to bring along their students to take part in a day of workshops and interactive activities, and also inviting local tech businesses to share their passion for science and technology used in their industry.

TeenTech received funding from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the Careers and Enterprise Company, Morningside Arena and the REACH network to run the one-day festival, backed with a programme of year-round school workshops.

Local companies involved included the University of Leicester, De Montfort University, Loughborough University, Willmott Dixon, Leicester Royal Enfield, Loughborough College, Leicester College, the National Space Centre, Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service, Keepmoat Homes and Thermo Fisher Scientific among others.

TeenTech founder and former television presenter Maggie Philbin, who grew up in Leicestershire, said: “We want to make sure that young people in this area really understand they can become the innovators of tomorrow.

“Our programmes not only showcase the very best science and technology, but help students see how they might very much enjoy working in these areas.

“Making sure young people in the city and the county have exposure to the fast-changing world of work is particularly important to me. The response from local companies, Leicester City Council’s Employment Hub, the LLEP, universities and colleges has been incredible.

“We’ve all worked together to create an amazing experience for young people."

Leicester City Council Employment Hub manager Tracey Waterfield added: “TeenTech coming to Leicester is an amazing opportunity to inspire our current year 8/9 students.

“Leicester was ranked first in the 2018 Tech Nation report for growth in technology start-up businesses, and initiatives like TeenTech provide the perfect platform for these businesses to showcase tech and science developments to local students in a very practical hands-on way.

“It very positively promotes subjects from schools’ science and technology curriculums, which are often undersubscribed especially by girls, and will also make it easier to access great career opportunities in those areas, based right here in the city.

“Space technology is at the heart of the digital revolution, and with our planned expansion of The Dock innovation space, our ambition is to establish the city’s Pioneer Park as a hub for technology and knowledge-based industries, encouraging enterprise and creating jobs.”

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Editors notes

TeenTech is an award-winning charity who ran their first event in 2008. Large scale festivals with supporting year round activity now run in London, Manchester, Humber, South Yorkshire, Leicester, West Midlands, Bristol, Surrey, Hampshire and Portsmouth.

The TeenTech Awards have run since 2013 and culminate in an exciting showcase in London. The structure provides schools with access to innovation sessions and inspiring mentors from all over the world.

Leicester City Council’s Employment Hub is a European Social Fund project offering free and impartial support on skills development and recruitment to small and medium enterprises across Leicester and Leicestershire, and helps people find employment through apprenticeships.