STUDENTS taking part in a science and technology competition were challenged with designing and building a chocolate egg vending machine.

The pupils from Basing-stoke schools, including Cranbourne Business and Enterprise College, Brighton Hill Community School and Dove House School Acad-emy, battled against each other at the event held at Aldworth School, in Western Way, Basingstoke.

The teams had worked on their contraptions at after-school clubs, supported by local industry representatives volunteering their time to work in schools as part of the Government-funded STEMNET programme (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths Ambas-sadors).

Successful designs were judged on various criteria, including the ability to move more than one egg, how much of it could be recycled, its entertainment value, and the electronics incorporated.

Jon Tickle, from Sky One’s Brainiac series, judged the entries.

The challenge, supported by technology company Thales, aimed to encourage students to explore the many career opportunities available in STEM industries.

Doctor Sarah Newman, STEM programme manager for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, said: “Young people today exist in a world of rapidly evolving technology, yet most have little awareness of the inspiring and creative opportunities that careers in these industries can offer them.

“Challenges like this, bringing together students and STEM Ambassadors, help us to raise awareness of how creative STEM careers can be.”