SOME of Basingstoke’s biggest names are investing in a brighter future for tomorrow’s workforce with the return of TeenTech.
The trailblazing event, spearheaded by Maggie Philbin, former presenter of BBC science programme Tomorrow’s World, will take place on June 18 at The Hampshire Court Hotel.
Last year, 300 Year 8 and 9 students from schools in and around Basingstoke attended the resoundingly successful event which was hosted by Maggie, who now works for BBC Radio Berkshire.
The day, organised by Basingstoke Consortium, got the royal seal of approval from the Duke of York, who attended the 2012 event, which was the first of its kind in Hampshire.
And already some of Basingstoke’s biggest names are backing the next TeenTech – among them Sony, Shire, AWE.
Sue Riley, chief executive of Basingstoke Consortium, is confident to repeat the success of last year’s event, and she is now looking for more companies to get involved.
She said: “Positive role models who work in industry are best equipped to inspire young people to consider careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.
“This is why TeenTech is such a wonderful opportunity – nowhere else could young people gain access to such cutting-edge technology, aspirational business ambassadors and inspirational leaders.”
Following the format of last year’s event, students will spend a day doing hands-on experiments and challenges with 120 engineers and scientists from some of Basingstoke’s leading companies.
The 2012 event involved 27 local companies, who ran 32 interactive STEM activities throughout the day, with students working in small groups, led by a business ambassador through three zones – Innovation, Insight and Challenge.
Hampshire County Council is also backing the 2013 event as a sponsor.
Councillor Ray Ellis, executive member for economic development and rural affairs at Hampshire County Council, said: “As a scientist myself, I believe we need to inspire our young people to become the engineers and scientists of the future, and ensure that businesses in the STEM sector have a skilled workforce in the future in order to help to drive growth in the economy.
“TeenTech gives young people the unique opportunity to have hands-on experience of leading-edge technology and to meet the engineers, technicians and scientists currently working in industry, who will help to demonstrate how the science, mathematics, information technology, design and technology subjects that they study at school can lead to rich and varied career pathways.”
Delighted that Sony is involved once again, Valerie Elliot, general manager at Sony Professional Solutions Europe, said: “The engineers who took part displayed pride in their skills and our company. The engineers expressed that they were inspired by the teenagers as much as they inspired them, with the questions from the teenagers giving a differing perspective.
“I personally believe we should be supporting STEM initiatives to build the skills we will need in the future.”
Jessica Mann, senior vice-president global corporate communications at Shire, said she feels working in partnership with TeenTech is an important way of reaching the scientists of the future.
And AWE public affairs manager Philippa Kent, who is also chairman of AWE’s School Liaison Scheme, said TeenTech is a great way to get hundreds of young people excited about science, engineering and technology.