MORE than 300 students from 24 schools came together to find out about careers in science and technology, at an interactive event led by television presenter Maggie Philbin.

The former Tomorrow’s World presenter welcomed guests to the eighth TeenTech on Thursday last week at Hampshire Court Hotel, inspiring students by telling of her own journey and experience of how technology is constantly evolving.

Addressing the students, she said: “We hope it will be an inspiring day. It’s an opportunity to really understand how you can play a significant part in changing the world and the way it runs.”

Students took part in an interactive Q&A session with Maggie, voting using devices on their tables with the answers appearing immediately on large screens around the room.

Young people from schools in Basingstoke and the surrounding areas including Newbury, Reading and Fleet, learned about the vast range of careers available in the technology industry through a practical approach. In small groups of 10, they explored three zones.

In the Challenge Zone they were tasked with completing a technology activity by different businesses.

Jordan Lopez, a mechanical engineer for AWE said: “In the Challenge Zone we ran an activity where students had a lot of fun learning about engineering and creativity whilst working together as a team through the timed challenge to create a chariot with spikes which they then had to digitally control to pop as many balloons as possible. All the young people learnt a lot even if they didn’t succeed.”

The Insight Zone gave the students an insight into the technology that organisations use in their workplace daily, through a hands-on approach.

De La Rue taught young people about the process of making money, while Encounter EDU demonstrated virtual reality technology, with students able to experience being in a submarine under the sea.

The Innovation Zone gave pupils the opportunity to come up with their own ideas for future technology, with prizes awarded at the end for the best suggestions.

Cath Longhurst, chief executive officer of Basingstoke Consortium, which organised the event as part of EBP South, said: “What we know is that young people don’t understand there are career opportunities out there and more and more there are so many more jobs in technology and science. We need them to understand what these jobs are and spark their interest.

“From a business point of view, it’s a great opportunity to come along and showcase what they do and give their staff a chance to meet young people.”

Maggie added: “We now have past attendees that attended at the first TeenTech, who were inspired by those companies that exhibited and are now working for them in the technology industries.

“I never fail to be impressed by the imaginative participation of all the young people and the care and preparation of all the businesses taking place. It really is the most powerful way to inspire young people across digital and scientific industries.”

Councillor Ken Rhatigan, leader of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, attended the event as one of the VIP guests, and said: “It is great businesses want to be involved, they know that young people are the talent of the future.”

TeenTech is organised by EBP South, supported by Southern Universities Network (SUN Partnership), AWE, Fujitsu, De La Rue, Thermofisher Scientific and Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council.