The Technopop London festival is expected to see 100,000 students and families learn about technology, design and innovation during the four-week event near the Olympic Park.
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Supported by Oxley International Holdings, the festival aims to inspire young people to consider IT in both their future careers and social lives.
The event will take place at the International Quarter on the edge of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, from 8 October to 2 November. Entry is free for all children and students aged six to 19.
Technopop founding director Jo Tasker told Computer Weekly: “The event is already proving very popular. It launched last week and we have already had 150 schools sign up and 8,000 registrants.
“Technopop is a truly cutting-edge event. We are giving kids the chance to explore careers in sectors and industries that are only just emerging.”
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Tasker said the technology skills gap was the real driver for creating the festival. “I worked in the construction industry for a long time and noticed the lack of candidates for engineering roles,” she said. “UK firms were going overseas to find talent and even moving their headquarters abroad to be closer to that talent.
“But this is England and we have the talent right here. It’s just a lack of engagement.”
Tasker said a career in technology is open to all young people, regardless of their academic achievement. “Not all children are academic; some have an entrepreneurial spirit,” she said. “It’s about engaging, and providing them with the knowledge to guide them above and beyond.”
The festival will have a different theme each week, with the issue of women in technology built into each:
Week 1 – Looking Up: Whatever goes on above your head comes to Technopop.
Week 2 – In Touch with Technology: Find out how new technologies are developed, from the maths in machines to smart design.
Week 3 – Built Environment: How are the challenges of the world’s growing cities being met?
Week 4 – Sports Science and the Human Body: The human body is no longer just about biology, but involves technology, chemistry and invention.
Ching Chiat Kwong, executive chairman of Oxley International, said: “We are proud to be the headline sponsor of this free festival, which promises to be a vibrant combination of innovation, education and fun.”