TeenTech welcomes a Royal Patron

We were thrilled to welcome HRH Duke of York as Patron of TeenTech this year.  He demonstrates a genuine commitment to helping young people understand more about the skills they need to prosper in the future and we are delighted to have his support. It’s clear that teenagers who met him at TeenTech this year were equally impressed. One telling comment came from a 12-year-old: “Engineering must be important if The Duke of York is here.”

His Royal Highness spent a morning at TeenTech in Hampshire, meeting students and companies and rounded off his time with us by giving a powerful speech urging students to consider the opportunities in science and technology. BBC News covered the day but it was our student reporters who seized the exclusive interview with the Duke of York. The full report is on our website. HRH Duke of York will also welcome the overall winners of the TeenTech Awards to join him for tea later in the year.

The Duke of York joins Judith Hann, Howard Stableford and Kieran Prendiville who are also Patrons of TeenTech. We are really proud to have such brilliant Patrons who bring so much knowledge and experience to our initiative.

2012 – A big year for TeenTech
TeenTech held nine events across the UK in 2012. TeenTech has had a busy year!

We kicked off  in May at Ascot Racecourse, working with the team who delivered the very first event in 2008. A stunning venue that demonstrated just how high tech the construction industry has become.   One advantage of the gigantic space was being able to accommodate Seavision and their full-size sailing dinghies inside the grandstand, which was good news as it was a very windy day! Blatchfords made a stunning debut, bringing the engineering team behind their artificial limbs and helping teenagers vividly understand the technology behind paralympic successes. Check out the pictures here.

A couple of weeks later we ran a very special TeenTech event courtesy of Cisco.  We were lucky enough to be able to hold TeenTech City in a temporary but sleek contemporary structure “Cisco House” on the top of the Westfield shopping centre in Stratford, overlooking the Olympic Park. If the buzz afforded by a TeenTech event wasn’t enough, the building and it’s amazing views were the icing on the cake. Two fantastic days in pictures.

TeenTech Hampshire in Basingstoke in June was a truly Royal event as our Patron, HRH Duke of York was the guest of honour. Our delivery partner, the Basingstoke Consortium found an unusual venue at the Hampshire Court Hotel – unusual in that it has a sports hall five tennis courts long, which provided an impressive space for our TeenTech exhibitors.

July saw a hectic week for TeenTech with an event at Doncaster Racecourse for the first time, and a very welcome follow-up event in Hull two days later. At Doncaster things got very exciting courtesy of the Fire Service whilst at Hull, BBC Radio broadcast an entire programme from the event.

We paid a return visit to River Centre at Tonbridge in September which  is a small but lovely venue, where we take advantage of good outdoor space for extra marquees. Memorably, Northampton College were ideally suited to the outside pitch as it offered plenty of room for their “Formula Gravity” vehicle.

By contrast we held our first event in Coventry in October at the capacious Ricoh Arena, where we actually managed to squeeze in an aeroplane fuselage.  BBC Midlands Today gave TeenTech advanced coverage of the event thanks to the teachers and pupils of nearby President Kennedy School.

On to Folkestone later in the month where we had a panoramic view over the sea from the Leas Cliff Hall.  However our young visitors were too engrossed in the activities at hand to pay much attention to what was going on outside.

Next to the Surrey Sports Park at Guildford; the fabulous new sports complex at the University of Surrey.  It was also the day that we launched the TeenTech Awards providing a momentous climax in a busy year for us.  The last stop of the year was in Northumberland.  From cancer treatment, to air turbulence on planes and the devastation of flooding, The King Edward VI School in Morpeth, 6th December, held a “Global Reach-Out” day skyping schools and experts around the world to help them with their competition entries and to look to find solutions to some of the problems they share with the international community. The school has established contacts with New Zealand, Canada, Germany France Australia, Nepal and Brazil.

And finally, TeenTech rounded off the year in fantastic style by winning the  WISE Award for Best Outreach and Communication. Maggie Philbin was presented with the Award by Princess Anne at the IET . Well done TeenTech, Maggie and all of our supporters!

Global Reach-Out Day- Pupils Skype from Northumberland to Bristol and Canada for the TeenTech Awards

Pupils entering The TeenTech Awards took part in an international cyber-brainstorm via the internet in December. The “Global Reach-Out Day” at The King Edward VI School in Morpeth, Northumberland was a huge success with around 20 pupils taking part.The event, lead by Maggie Philbin, helped the students, aged fourteen and fifteen to collaborate globally on scientific and technological ideas ranging from transport to health, food technology, entertainment and environment.

To move their ideas on even further the students linked up with graduates at Airbus in Bristol and teamed up with a school in Ottawa in Canada live on Skype.  An ITV reporter joined the teams, to film their hard work for the regional television news programme.You can see the news report which went out across the North East here and further coverage here.

A team of trainee reporters and cameramen working at the school’s KEVI TV station filmed their own version of the day and are currently preparing it for the TeenTech website. The video will be on our website soon.”

New events for 2013 
We are currently finalising the dates for next year. New for 2013 are Northern Ireland, where we will be helping Derry to mark its year as the European City of Culture. We are also delighted at the prospect of running TeenTech in Wales.  Other new locations include Staffordshire, which will be our first event of the year in March,  South Gloucestershire, where the event will be sponsored by Airbus and Manchester where we are thrilled to be partnering with my former University – University of Manchester.

So thank you…
We feel so proud of what we have all achieved with TeenTech this year. The impact of the event on students is considerable and it’s gratifying to finish the year with 100% of schools saying they ‘definitely’ want to attend another event. If you attended the live events you’ll have seen the dramatic shift in perception of STEM careers from arrival to departure. It’s good to see how the effect ripples out after the day. Teachers at President Kennedy School in Coventry told us that students who attended the Ricoh Arena demanded to join the school STEM club which previously had only been open to older students.
The TeenTech Awards are now providing a great opportunity for our sponsors, supporting companies and universities to get more closely involved. Schools are busy signing up and we are already setting up links between companies and keen teenagers. Teachers, please keep us updated across interesting projects so we can feature some of them in our next newsletter.

Finally a personal thank you as ever for your support during 2012 and we look forward to seeing you in 2013.

Maggie Philbin
CEO, TeenTech