FIRST® Tech Challenge is an expeditionary learning platform using robots and industry mentors to equip young people with the technical knowledge and critical softer skills to take on tomorrow’s challenges.
Supported by a mentor, young people design, build and programme a robot to take on a global challenge before competing in tournaments in a bid to earn the right to represent the UK at the world championships in the USA. Meeting weekly for a couple of hours between September and March teams:
- develop technical know-how and core life skills
- collaborate and compete in tournaments
- engage with employers, universities, and industry role models
- build understanding of career pathways, roles and opportunities
- achieve recognition in the form of collective awards and individual accreditation
Developing tomorrow’s innovators
Comprehensive learning resources developed by educators in partnership with industry empower teams to achieve success.
The programme maps to key curriculum points and can be delivered in the classroom or as an extra-curricular activity. An online education portal provides access to structured content, training modules and collaboration.
Utilising the same tools and methodologies as industry project teams – learners become proficient in the broader skills required in the workplace building comprehension, confidence and resilience.
Diverse team roles aligned to real-world jobs alongside role-specific missions drive a breadth and depth of skills development, enhance subject relevance and raise awareness of career opportunities.
Who can take part?
- FIRST Tech Challenge is open to all UK schools and recognised youth or community groups
- The programme is optimised for Key Stage 3 (years 8 and 9)
- Teams can span year groups
- Teams should comprise of more than 8 members but must have no more than 15 – we reckon 10-12 is about right
- No prior robotics, programming, or engineering skills are required – learners will ideally have a mixture of skill-sets, backgrounds, and interests
- Teams must have appropriate adult acting as team lead – typically a classroom lead, assistant or other DBS-checked individual
- A mentor is considered an invaluable component of the programme significantly enhancing the experience and impact for learners
The £149 registration fee per team provides:
- access to programme learning resources
- eligibility for awards and accreditation
- entry to a 1-day regional championships event
- support with securing a mentor
- access to financial support including kit bursaries and travel awards
Each team requires a robotics kit which costs £750.
This is the wholesale, negotiated price direct from supplier (the charity makes no profit or mark up). Kits are reusable year on year providing a sustainable robotics learning platform and include:
- All hardware, software and a tablet for programming
- An engineering notebook to document team progress
- Teaching aids/classroom materials
As a charity we are on a mission to make STEM accessible to all. Financial support in the form of full (£750) and partial (£375) kit bursaries are available to eligible organisations.
The charity makes available supplementary bursaries during the season to support teams with travel to and from events.