B&FC robotics event will put pupils’ engineering skills to the test

Published on 15/06/2018 by pfi

Fylde Coast pupils will have their mettle tested during the Blackpoolrobo robotics competition at Blackpool and The Fylde College (B&FC).

The contest is sponsored by Future U and BAE Systems and takes place in B&FC’s cutting-edge Advanced Technology Centre at the College’s Bispham Campus on Friday 15 June. The challenge will see secondary school pupils tasked with building an innovative and robust robot to compete in a pre-designed arena with space and time constraints, showcasing their academic knowledge and technical skills.

The competition will focus on the feasibility, efficiency, and problem solving, as well as testing the creativity of participants.

Seven local high schools will be competing at the event, including St Aidan's High School, Baines, Hodgson, Millfield, Aspire Academy, Highfield and South Shore Academy. Each team consists of up to five students who will have built their robots with the help of their teachers and B&FC mentor engineering students.

B&FC engineering tutor Clare Gilmartin said:

“We’re really excited to be hosting this competition which will test the STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) skills of pupils, and offer substantial prizes for the winning teams.

“It consists of six robotic challenges, each inspired by iconic local landmarks including Blackpool Pleasure Beach, The Tower, Blackpool FC’s Bloomfield Road stadium and B&FC’s Lancashire Energy HQ.

“The winning school will receive £1,000, while second and third will be awarded £750 and £500 respectively. All the schools which participate in the final round will receive a certificate.

“The competition is running for the first time this year and has been conceived to promote interest in STEM subjects, as well as to providing an entertaining, relaxed and amusing way to learn robotics and coding skills. We want to challenge perceptions that engineering is a difficult subject and hope to make this an annual event.”

Judges will include B&FC engineering staff and representatives from BAE Systems. VIPs from FutureU and the Institution for Engineering and Technology will also be in attendance. Andy Bloor, Head of Early Careers at BAE Systems, said:

“We’re proud to support the first ever Blackpoolrobo robotics competition.

“This is a great opportunity to inspire the next generation and encourage more students to consider careers in STEM-related subjects.”

A spokesman for Future U added:

“The robotics challenge is yet another fine example of the great collaborative work being undertaken between the schools, colleges and the Future U team in Lancashire. 

“To provide a ‘hands-on’ experience of engineering in this fun and interactive way, overseen by highly reputable professionals in the field, will not only enable the students to appreciate the sector skills involved; but also to provide guidance and direction on higher education opportunities in the sector.”