4 August 2012 Comments Off

What the Olympics did for me …

I’m really enjoying the Olympics – a superb success – not only for the athletes but for the people who planned, built and delivered the sites on time.

The 2012 Olympics have a real resonance for me because it was standing on a Hackney rooftop  in Dec 2007, looking across at the bulldozers glinting in the December sunshine that I recognised a powerful opportunity to enthuse young people, not only about sport but science, engineering, construction and technology.Here’s a short video we shot for the New Engineering Foundation at the time.

Learning about the physics behind roller coasters at the very first TeenTech event..

Learning about the physics behind roller coasters at the very first TeenTech event.

In 2008 we ran the first TeenTech in a huge empty office building in Reading with 450 teenagers and a raft of tech and engineering companies, keen to show off their latest advances and to insprire young people to consider careers in their areas.

From the word go TeenTech was collaborative, working with global companies, regional companies, start -ups and local education partners to deliver events that were lively and sharply focussed. It is an industry-led initiative.

Last year we piloted the idea of working with regional partners adding events in Humber Region and Kent to the one we’d run for two years in Berkshire.

So far this year,we’ve run five events across the UK, with another four to go in the Autumn.

7194484196_3eaf790c37_sOne of those events was at Cisco House, a venue over looking the Olympic Park and when I stood on the balcony, overlooking the stadium, I couldn’t help reflecting on that cold December day when I decided to stop talking about the need to help young people and to actually do something about it.

TeenTech City - there's a great view out of that window. Honest ;-)

TeenTech City - there's a great view out of that window. Honest ;-)

I feel so proud of the people who’ve worked on TeenTech over the past four years, helping thousands of young people understand their own potential. Over that time, we’ve worked with some inspiring companies responsible for awesome technology and activities and with talented regional teams across the UK which helps us to develop and evolve the event. We were delighted to welcome the Duke of York to our Hampshire event in June.

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He watched young people learn more about the technology which will help our paralympians compete later this month.

We measure the impact of our events and know how they change perceptions – 80% of girls leave TeenTech thinking a career in STEM might just be for them.

We’ve some terrific events coming up in the Autumn and if you’d like your company to be involved do let us know. You’d be made very welcome.

Tonbridge – 25th September, Coventry – 19th October, Folkestone, 25th October, Surrey, 14th November.

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