Engineers of Tomorrow

A team of six students from Beacon Academy in Crowborough proved the future is bright for British engineering by competing in the National Final of the Elite Engineering Programme for schools.

image-4The event, hosted by former Tomorrow’s World Presenter Kate Bellingham, took place at the Museum of Science & Industry in Manchester and saw over 200 students from 25 schools across the UK compete in the fast-paced robotics competition.

image-5Beacon Academy was selected to become part of pilot year of the Elite Engineering Programme, an initiative that aims to address the skills gap in engineering by encouraging and inspiring young people to pursue a career in the field.

Since being selected to be part of the Programme, the team has learnt how to program robots using a platform developed by LEGO called MINDSTORMS EV3:

At the event, the students from Beacon went head to head with schools from all over the UK to showcase their robots competing in series of challenges all relating to the subject ‘how to survive in space’.  They also had to give a presentation showing how they prepared for the competition using teamwork.

Dr Graham Bray, Director of STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics at Beacon Academy and the teacher leading the team, explained the impact being part of the Programme has had on the students:

Being selected to be part of the EEP and taking part in the competition has been a very exciting time for both the teachers and the students. It has given us the opportunity to expose our students to technology they may otherwise have not been able to experience. We have seen the students apply these new programming skills in such an imaginative way. Since coming back from the competition, the buzz about our robotics team has been palpable and it is really encouraging to see so many people taking an interest in STEM subjects.

Beacon Academy came 6th out of 25 schools at the National Final and will now compete in the FIRST LEGO League, a global technology competition also designed to get children involved in science and technology.

image-3Professor Tony Purnell who originated the EPP on behalf of the Helsington Foundation has been overwhelmed with the success of the pilot year of the Schools Programme:

“have seen a remarkable interest in this pilot year and to see what all these students have achieved has been astonishing. I envisaged the EEP being a platform to give young people something challenging and something that enables them to say ‘I created that and it works!’ We have seen from today’s performance the outstanding talent we have in our schools and it’s really encouraged us to further develop this national Programme and make it a breeding ground for young engineers.