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Technology challenge to inspire next generation of coders


Students from 16 schools and colleges across Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield and Calderdale are getting an introduction to the world of technology with the help of Leeds Beckett and global technology firm, Premier Farnell.

The judges looking at a display

The Premier Farnell Technology Challenge aims to raise aspirations and help young people aged 16 - 18 years to explore careers in digital and tech, an industry which is set to grow by 15% in this region over the next decade.

A series of 16 separate challenges will ask teams of pupils to design and build a prototype of a piece of technology that will help someone with a physical or sensory impairment.

More than 400 students will take part in this year’s challenges, which will launch at each participating school and college this month.  Pupils will take part in a range of workshops and activities designed by Premier Farnell and Leeds Beckett University on topics such as user-centred design and coding skills to help them design their concept.

Competitions, judged by industry experts from Premier Farnell, will be held at each school and college to choose winners to go forward to a regional final in Leeds on 5 December 2017. 

Sarah Thomas, Access and Widening Participation Manager at Leeds Beckett, said: “Leeds Beckett University is delighted to be involved in the Premier Farnell Technology Challenge. The project will equip participants with the creative and technical skills needed to pursue successful careers within the industry and enables our undergraduate students to share their expertise and gain valuable experience of working with young people in our region.”

Steve Carr, Global Head of Marketing for Premier Farnell, commented: “We are delighted to be running this challenge for a third year, this time focussing on students aged 16-18.  As a global technology business based in Leeds, we are committed to introducing the next generation to technology, the opportunities that it presents, and where best to start in the Yorkshire region.  I’m excited to see the ideas that the students come up with.”

The challenge is organised with local social enterprise, Ahead Partnership, which has supported more than 95,000 young people to date with real-life, hands-on experiences designed by local employers.

The competitions are part of the FutureJobs programme, a fully-funded service from aspire-igen, Leeds City Region LEP and the European Social Fund.

Stephanie Burras CBE, Ahead Partnership’s Chief Executive, said: “Over two million people work in digital in the UK and in this region. Where demand is ever-increasing, it’s imperative that we help young people see the diverse opportunities available. We’re delighted to be helping Premier Farnell directly tackle this demand by challenging young people’s perceptions of the tech industry, helping them develop their creativity and focus on innovation. We’re really looking forward to seeing all the entries.”


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