Based on Lego Mindstorms kits, containing software and hardware, the children worked together to build and programme robots using Lego Mindstorms, an icon-based programming interface. The students were then able to showcase their work in a robot race against their classmates. Peter Matthews, Lead Research Scientist at CA Technologies, also spoke to them about the job opportunities of the future.
“As a result of the STEM skills gap in Europe, the European Commission estimates that there could be up to 825,000 unfilled vacancies for ICT* professionals by 2020. This needs to be addressed now, so that future generations can meet their full potential. Coding and programming skills are crucial in addressing this and events like this are vital in convincing young students that coding can be both fun and a viable career choice. They are a first step in inspiring boys and girls to consider a career in STEM,” said Sarah Atkinson, VP EMEA Communications at CA Technologies and head of Create Tomorrow.
Students from Slough & Eton School, Holyport College, Ditton Park Academy, Easthampstead Park Community School, Sandhurst School, Upton Court Grammar and Windsor Girls’ School took part in the event.
Caty Salter, 14, a student at Sandhurst School, said after the event: “I have really enjoyed today; not just the programming, but the introduction to the world of work. It has made me see that I definitely want to work in a STEM career. I was already interested in mechanics, but now I can see there are lots of other options open to me as well.”
Amy John, Deputy Head of Year Nine at Slough & Eton School, said: “Events like this are important for getting students thinking about career options, and allowing them to see what a professional work environment is like. The students here today need to pick their GCSE options next year, so this is a great opportunity for them to learn about some of the jobs which will be available to them.”
Waqas Arbi, Raising Standards Leader at Windsor Girls’ School, added: “We have brought students to this event for the past three years. They love it and leave full of confidence and interest in technology careers. Girls are underrepresented in STEM and it’s our responsibility to work with organisations like CA Technologies to help address this.”
The Create Tomorrow initiative is an EMEA wide programme that aims to engage CA Technologies’ 2,000 strong workforce in the region to help address the skills gap and champion the creation of digital jobs. CA Technologies is also a partner of the European Commission’s Grand Coalition on Digital Jobs and eSkills4jobs. CA works with local non-profit Learning to Work to deliver its Create Tomorrow programme in the UK.