Posted on the 29th January 2020
Written by Patrice

South West competitors set sights on champs after regional triumph

The competition run by FIRST® Tech Challenge UK aims to ignite aspirations in young people and connect Bristol’s tech and engineering workforce with emerging talent

Robots built by students in the South West of England competed yesterday at FIRST® Tech Challenge UK’s regional tournament at the University of Bristol, powered by Baker Hughes. The winning teams will now progress to London’s Copper Box Arena in March where they will compete to represent the UK in the world championship in May, held in the USA, alongside 40,000 young people from 100 countries.


South West Regional winners:

  • Judges Award Winner: Tenby Techno Team, Greenhill School
  • Arm Control Award Winner: Team George, Helston Community College
  • Motivate Award Winner: Team Six Village Cyborgs, Ormiston Six Villages Academy
  • Design Award Winner: Team eWok, The City Academy
  • Collins Aerospace Innovate Award Winner: Team Geek Squad, Bishop Hedley High School
  • Connect Award Winner: Teams Hendecabots & Barry Bots, Ferndown Upper School
  • Think Award: Team Norse, Ysgol Gyfun Emlyn
  • Finalist Alliance: Tenby Techno Team, Greenhill School & Team Terror Bytes, Dyffryn Taf 
  • Winning Alliance: Team Geek Squad, Bishop Hedley High School & Team Barry Bots, Ferndown Upper School
  • Inspire Award Winner: Team Terror Bytes, Dyffryn Taf

All teams will advance to the UK National Championship.


Ed Cervantes-Watson, CEO at FIRST UK, said:

“A huge congratulations to the South West teams who have been phenomenal and Dyffryn Taf for winning the coveted Inspire Award. The quality of teamwork, determination and sheer gusto shone through in both the judging process and game field. We’re inspired by every team who took part and look forward to witnessing their development at the National Championship in London’s Olympic Park. We’re incredibly grateful to our Game Changer volunteers, many from Baker Hughes, who powered the event on the ground.”


FIRST UK is more than a tech education charity. While the programme aims to make STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) less intimidating and more inclusive, it is also connecting young people with industry, providing new role models and teaching vital skills. Through the programme young people work on their soft skills – such as problem solving, working and collaborating with others, and building confidence and resilience. 


Meeting weekly from September until March, teams of up to 15 young people aged 12 to 18 design, build and programme a robot to take on a global challenge with support from an industry mentor. FIRST UK has worked alongside industry experts to co-create content linked to the curriculum that gets young people thinking and operating like a business team, adopting roles found in the workplace. 


FIRST UK is backed by businesses keen to bridge the gap between education and industry, building an inclusive talent pipeline equipped with the skills needed for tomorrow’s jobs – the South West tournament is in partnership with Baker Hughes. It is estimated that the shortage of STEM skills in the UK is costing businesses £1.5 billion a year as they struggle to hire, train and retain talent. Research from 2018 shows that there’s a shortfall of over 173,000 workers in STEM in the UK.


John Kerr, VP of Engineering & Technology – Oilfield Equipment at Baker Hughes, commented:

“We could not be more excited to join forces with FIRST UK to keep fostering innovative thinking, curiosity and collaboration within the upcoming leaders our industry will rely on. The foundation of our company relies on those values, with innovation and diversity at the core of what and how we do things.”

. . .

You can follow all competition activity live with the hashtag #MoreThanRobotsUK on Twitter and Instagram. If you’re up for volunteering like some of our epic Game Changers, sign up to our York and Liverpool regionals.

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