A real buzz of innovation and excitement filled The Royal Society on Monday 26th June as some 150 students took part in the annual TeenTech Awards 2017 which celebrates the talent and creativity of young people from all over the UK. TeenTech was setup in 2008 to help young people understand the opportunities in the science, technology and engineering industries, no matter what their gender or social background.
The Awards are an annual celebration of students’ ideas across 18 categories using science and technology skills with the aid of mentors. As key sponsor of the Digital Skills category, an award which recognised excellence in computer programming as well as creativity in the use of IT, we saw first-hand the ideas and prototypes that were the culmination of months of research, testing and production. We were joined by Rory Cellan Jones, BBC Technology correspondent, to judge the five finalists and were blown away by the amount of time and effort that had been spent by these enthusiastic young technologists.
From a mobile phone case that had been adapted to make young women feel safer to a home hydroponics system to change the way gardeners manage their crop we marvelled at the brilliance of their creativity and importantly, their ambition to succeed regardless of their technical background or experience. We discussed the student’s motivations and how they came to be at TeenTech, learnt about the industry collaborations they had made and discussed the skills they had needed to acquire or develop in order to produce such fantastic prototypes.
After much deliberation, SafeCase from Loughborough High School was our winning team for their innovative approach to safe guarding young women by adapting their mobile phones. 60% of finalists were girls this year and we are delighted that the Digital Skills winners represented an all-female team. Created and designed by Meraam Ibrahim and Grace Johnston, who (by their own admission) had zero coding experience prior to starting the TeenTech challenge, showed such passion to solve a real world problem through a technological solution and learnt how to programme from scratch to bring their idea to life. We were so impressed with their professional presentation, team work and ability to convey their idea in front of four judges – congratulations to you both! It was great to meet you and we look forward to welcoming you to the FDM London office to meet with Group CIO, Jonathan Young to share your ideas and ambitions for the future.