Teentech launches its first festival in Scotland at Strathclyde

TeenTech founder Maggie Philbin with pupils at the TeenTech Festival at the University of Strathclyde

The festival was organised by national charity TeenTech with support from the university’s Young Strathclyder programme, which aims to improve access to higher education for young people from disadvantaged and under-represented backgrounds.

The festival brought local and national companies face-to-face with secondary school students to engage in hands-on activities aimed at opening their eyes to the fantastic opportunities in science, technology and engineering. Companies taking part include Cyber and Fraud Centre Scotland, BAE Systems, Network Rail, Atkins, AWS, CENSIS, Lenovo, Deloitte, Arup, Army, NHS Glasgow Clinical Research Facility, Edinburgh Climate Change Institute, Scottish AI Alliance, Leidos, Barclays, BE-ST Build, JPMorgan, Digital Health and Care Innovation Centre, ESA, Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre and SaxaVord Spaceport.

In addition, several Strathclyde University departments provided activities such as the Department of Chemical and Process Engineering, Institute of Education, Department of Mathematics & Statistics, Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, Student Lifecycle Services and the Fab Lab.

Meaningful time

The day allowed students to spend meaningful time with company representatives and take part in tasks and challenges which provide them and their teachers with a much greater understanding of different sectors. Students also engaged in an innovation session where they developed their own ideas in a variety of areas such as health, transport and the environment to make life smarter, simpler, safer or more fun, whilst considering the sustainability of their projects. They can then enter them into the annual TeenTech Awards which celebrates the best ideas from around the UK.

The festival was hosted by TeenTech CEO & Co-founder Maggie Philbin and Scottish-born TV science presenter Dallas Campbell who also provided a session on space.

TeenTech festivals provide young people with inspirational experiences which can be life-changing and allow companies to connect with potential future employees in a meaningful way.

Co-founder of TeenTech, former Tomorrow’s World reporter Maggie Philbin OBE said: “Schools in Scotland have taken part in our TeenTech Award programme for many years and they themselves asked us to bring a TeenTech Festival to this amazing city. We are delighted to be partnering with the University of Strathclyde and look forward to welcoming students, teachers and businesses for a day which will change perceptions and help many young people see how many exciting opportunities there are in the region.”

Varied opportunities

Amanda Baldwin, Head of Access, Equality and Inclusion, at the University of Strathclyde, said: “We are thrilled to be hosting Scotland’s first Teentech Festival at Strathclyde and helping school pupils from across the country to find out more about the wide and varied opportunities in science, technology and engineering.

“As a socially-progressive University and a ‘place of useful’ learning we are committed to enabling anyone who can benefit from higher education to do so, no matter their background.

“TeenTech aligns with our Young Strathclyder programme is aimed at helping young people – and their parents and carers – build a real sense of belonging and confidence within a Higher Education setting and to maintain a focus on their post-school goals by providing advice and guidance on subject choices and career opportunities.”

Young Strathclyder is a programme of long-term sustained contact and support for pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds throughout their compulsory schooling and is designed to raise awareness of higher education, support attainment, and offer learning opportunities. There are three main phases to the Young Strathclyder programme:

  • Young Strathclyder Primary
  • Young Strathclyder S2
  • Young Strathclyder Accelerate for S5 & S6

In S2, pupils will have the chance to find out more about areas of study that they are interested in as they begin to think more about the types of jobs they would like to do when they are older.

In S5 and S6, pupils will have the opportunity to participate in Young Strathclyder Accelerate, a week-long summer programme on campus focusing on the particular academic area they are interested in going on to study at university.