Hundreds of Young People Inspired to Pursue Cyber and Technology Careers at TeenTech Lancashire Festival

Over 170 Year 8 and 9 pupils from schools across Lancashire were given the opportunity to take part in an immersive day of workshops with leading employers in the science, cyber and technology and engineering industries, to inspire them to consider their career opportunities in these fields.

The TeenTech Lancashire Festival, which took place last month, was the first live TeenTech event for the region, following two years of successful online events. It aimed to raise aspirations and help young people realise their potential to gain the skills they need to take on the careers of tomorrow.

Held in partnership with the Lancashire Digital Skills Partnership (LDSP), The Lancashire Careers Hub, the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), FutureU, the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology and sponsor Oracle , the event was an interactive event of exciting challenges and hands-on activities overseen by a network of employers who provided the groups with live feedback as the day progressed.

Commenting on the day, Kerry Harrison, Lead for the Lancashire Digital Skills Partnership, said that it was fantastic to see such an engaged group who grabbed the challenges with both hands.

She said: “We were thrilled to have been able to welcome so many young people to the TeenTech Lancashire Festival and give them the opportunity to see first-hand just what a career in cyber and technology could hold for them.

“A real highlight was seeing all the young people developing their new tech ideas in the Innovation Zone – one that sticks in my mind is a next generation smart watch that monitors your body and tells you when you are ill before you realise it. I also loved seeing the concentration on the faces of those flying a plane using the flight simulator in the Aerospace Engineering Department and the Oracle challenge of solving sign language puzzles using hand-recognition software. There was so much amazing activity going on and the young people present were all getting stuck in with everything”.

Ann Jordan Dean MBE DL, Chair of the LDSP and Lancashire Enterprise board member, said:

“Lancashire has a rich industrial history and an even more exciting future, as we become a key location for cyber and digital, green energy and advanced manufacturing. Ensuring that the next generation aspires to jobs in these areas, and has the skills needed to make these sectors flourish, is a core part of our work of the LDSP and is further aligned to the LEP’s wider economic growth strategy. That’s why events like this are so important, as they help to make a direct connection between education and employability.”

TeenTech events aim to help young people from 8 to 18 understand the opportunities in the science, technology and engineering industries, raise their aspirations and realise their potential.

Commenting on the first in-person event for Lancashire, TeenTech CEO and co-founder, Maggie Philbin OBE, said: “I’d like to thank all of the LDSP partners, UCLan and all of our supporting businesses for delivering such a fantastic event.

“It was brilliant to see how engaged the region’s employers were in bringing careers to life for young people across Lancashire. Our events aim to change minds and celebrate all things creative in digital,

cyber security, science, technology, construction and engineering, and the Lancashire festival was a true example of this.”

Dr Joanna Brown, who runs UCLan’s Young Scientist Centre, said: “TeenTech Festivals have been enthusiastically received by students, teachers, and participating companies since the inaugural event in 2008. I was delighted to see how enthusiastic all the pupils were throughout the day.”

Teen Tech events provide immersive, and powerful programmes which not only help young people understand the opportunities in contemporary industry but also the skills and personal qualities which are most needed in tomorrow’s world.

This work is predominantly funded by DSIT and is part of the government’s £2.6 billion National Cyber Strategy to protect and promote the UK online, and develop the cyber security skills to boost the UK digital economy. In addition to DSIT funding, Oracle provided sponsorship for the event.

Employers who took part in the day were:

· Oracle

· Willmott Dixon

· BAE Systems Air – Lancashire

· UCLan, Preston

o School of Engineering

o School of Psychology and Computer Science

o School of Sport and Health Sciences

o Jeremiah Horrocks Institute

· Care Surgical, Ormskirk

· Microsoft

· NHS – Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust – IT Team, Preston and Chorley

· NHS – Integrated Care Board

· NHS – Estates and Facilities

· Nybble, Blackburn

· ROQ Ltd, Chorley

· AWS

· Citation Cyber, Lancaster

· National Cyber Force

· Alcidion, Burnley

· The Army, Preston

For more information about TeenTech visit: www.teentech.com. If you are interested in learning more about career options in tech, science and cyber visit the Start Lancashire Platform or watch this short animation on digital and creative careers of the future.

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