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The TeenTech Awards will choose its group of 2016 finalists from 120 shortlisted participants, who showcased their winning ideas to industry experts and celebrities at the Royal Society London.
The 2016 cohort of UK teens was challenged to develop scientific and technological solutions designed to make like “better, simpler or easier”.
With the aim of inspiring young children to pursue a career in the technology industry, the TeenTech Awards challenges teenagers to use technology to solve real-world problems, and aims to spark their interest in science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem).
The chosen groups will have the chance to compete against other longlisted teams for a cash prize and the opportunity to pitch their ideas to industry experts who can make their product ideas a reality.
CEO of TeenTech, Maggie Philbin, claimed it is important for young people to understand that studying subject such as engineering, physics or computer science can lead to different types of jobs in all industries.
Philbin said: “Working in science or technology is no longer a niche choice, because technology is disrupting the way we do absolutely everything – from finding partners to finding planets! Events like the TeenTech Awards are all about breaking down misconceptions that Stem subjects are dull, dry and boring, and giving young people a more realistic picture of what the exciting world of Stem really looks like.”
Entries made by the 11-18-year-olds must fall under one of 15 categories: research and literacy, manufacturing, digital skills, future of food, design and construction, retail and finance, safety and security, environment, music, media and entertainment, wearable technology, education, transport, energy and healthcare.
Filling the skills gap
This year’s finalists entered with ideas for apps and products that ranged from a social media apps for veterans and hyro-electric turbines to school trip booking apps and air filters for high pollution areas.
Each category for the event is sponsored by an industry partner, which in 2016 include: Maplin, National Grid, Airbus, JVCKenwood, Symantec, Atkins, Cranfield University, AQA, CILIP IL Group and Dell.
There is a skills gap in the technology industry, with the absence of skilled workers for technology jobs is costing the UK economy £63bn a year.
But there is also a lack of young women who are choosing to enter Stem careers, with many reasons cited such as a lack of role models and misconceptions that the industry is too difficult or too masculine.
This year, the TeenTech Awards has had more female finalist teams than male finalist teams. Philbin highlighted the importance of participating in events such as the TeenTech Awards in affecting the career children decide on.
Philbin said: “It’s gratifying to see 75 girls and 69 boys in the finalist teams. Students from all backgrounds come to our TeenTech events and begin to understand that working in tech is about finding real solutions for real needs. They work really hard on their own ideas with support from some brilliant mentors and surprise themselves as well as our judges when they see what they can achieve.”