Participants in FIRST Tech Challenge learn to think, operate and collaborate like innovators – designing robots to compete in tournaments. This season we've teamed up with Star Wars to be a Force for Change.
Young people design, build and programme a robot to take on a global challenge with support from an industry mentor. Teams compete in regional tournaments and a national championship – in a bid to represent the UK at the world championships held in the USA.
Meeting weekly for a couple of hours between September and March, teams:
- develop technical knowhow and core life skills
- collaborate and compete in tournaments
- engage with employers, universities and industry role models
- build an understanding of career pathways, roles and opportunities
- achieve recognition in the form of collective awards and individual accreditation
Who can take part?
- FIRST Tech Challenge is open to Department for Education-registered schools and nationally-recognised youth or community groups
- Participants must be 12 to 18 years old
- The programme is optimised for Key Stage 3 (years 8 and 9) with teams often spanning years
- Teams should comprise of more than 8 but no more than 15 members – 10 to 12 is optimal
- No prior robotics, programming or engineering skills are required – learners will ideally have a mixture of skill sets, backgrounds and interests
- Teams must have an appropriate adult acting as a team lead – typically a classroom lead, assistant or another DBS-checked individual
- A mentor is considered an invaluable component of the programme, significantly enhancing the experience and impact for learners
What does it cost?
The £149 registration fee per team provides:
- access to programme learning resources
- eligibility for awards and accreditation
- entry to a 1-day regional tournament event
- support with securing a mentor
- access to travel and teacher cover bursaries to attend events
- free industry standard CAD software, licences and training
- £75 early bird kit booster voucher for teams registered by 31 May 2019
- £75 refer-a-school vouchers – for the referrer and referred
Each team requires a robotics kit, which costs £599. This is the wholesale price (actual retail value £1,000+), negotiated directly with the supplier (the charity makes no profit or mark-up). Kits are reusable year-on-year, providing a sustainable robotics learning product and include:
- All hardware, software and a tablet for programming
- An engineering notebook to document team progress
- Access to our e-learning platform and supporting resources
We are a charity on a mission to make STEM accessible for all. Financial support is available to eligible organisations as full (£599) or partial (£300) kit bursaries.
The charity provides supplementary bursaries during the season to support teams with travel to and from events.
Developing tomorrow’s innovators
Comprehensive learning resources developed with educators and industry empower teams to achieve success.
The programme maps to key curriculum points and can be delivered in the classroom or as an extracurricular activity. An online education platform provides access to structured content, training modules and collaboration.
Using the same tools and methodologies as teams in industry – learners become proficient in broader workplace skills, building comprehension, confidence and resilience.
FIRST Tech Challenge is co-created and delivered in partnership with industry, building awareness of career pathways and empowering organisations to achieve the Gatsby Benchmarks.