The University of Bath is hosting over 700 aspiring young engineers from around the world later this month in the UK’s FIRST LEGO League International Open Championship for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths) skills. This is the first time the open championship has been held in the UK.

The event is organised by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), and sponsored by global engineering firm Bechtel and a robot STEM charity called FIRST.

“LEGO League helps young people understand the fantastic careers available to engineers”

 

Teams taking part at the University of Bath between 21-25 June have to build a robot using LEGO that can successfully tackle a series of missions, each representing a different aspect of animal-human interaction. The students will be required to demonstrate their skills in robotics, computer programming, teamwork, research, problem solving and communication. There are five teams from the UK and Ireland, including the UK winner, B6 Beryllium from Cambridge (above).

“This competition is a fantastic way of inspiring the next generation of engineers and nurturing the relevant skills they need for the modern engineering workplace. Young people taking part also have an invaluable opportunity to collaborate with businesses as they develop innovative solutions to problems they have identified as real-world issues,” said Mandy Workman, IET Education Manager for the FIRST LEGO League.

“We hear regularly about STEM skills shortages and gaps and the Institution of Engineering and Technology is passionate about highlighting to young people the excitement and creativity of engineering through the LEGO League competition. We’re especially pleased that more than a third of the students in this competition are female,” she said.

The event coincides with International Women in Engineering Day on Friday 23 June when the University also hosts 80 aspiring female engineers from local schools finding out more and experience a taste of what it is like to study an engineering discipline at university.

“We must improve diversity in engineering. Incredibly, only 9 per cent of engineers in the UK are women – Bechtel employs double that but we’re aiming for equality,” said Paul Gibbs, Managing Director of Bechtel UK. “Our industry needs to get more actively involved in programmes like LEGO League to help young people understand the fantastic careers available to engineers and the impact that engineering can have on people’s lives, the environment, economies and communities.”

There are more details of the previous UK competitions at www.firstlegoleague.co.uk

Nick Flaherty