Today around 200 young people traveled from across Leicestershire to De Montfort University to attend Teen Tech an event which aims to encourage young people to consider pursuing a career in the sciences. It comes after the Royal Academy of Engineering warned the UK that it needs around 1.25 million science, engineering, and technology professionals and technicians by 2020 and that currently there are not enough young British people studying science related subjects for this target to be met.
The event was created in 2008 by the TV presenter Maggie Philbin who has worked on technology programmes such as Tomorrow’s World and the children’s show Multi Coloured Swap Shop; she now hosts the British Television Science Magazine Series Bang Goes the Theory. Teen Tech was given the award of Best Engineering Event in 2010 by the British Science Association, and in 2012 HRH Duke of York KG became the patron of the event. Companies such as HP and the National Grid and more were also present at Teen Tech to give demonstrations to the schools in a bid to spark an interest in pursuing a science related career. As well as demonstrations, there were also interactive events for the young people to get involved with, such as designing their own computer app.
Teams from De Montfort University were also on hand at the event, and they showed attendees at the event the various ways science benefits society from demonstrating how science can help solve a crime in a CSI tent to exploring how solar power can help heat our homes as well as making holograms.
Speaking to Pukaar News about the aims of the event, Maggie Philbin said ‘’It’s just so important for young people to understand about the huge range of opportunities in science, technology and engineering’’ because she believes many young people believe the only career paths available to them when studying a science subject ‘’is being a doctor or being a vet’’.
Maggie also spoke about how the underrepresentation of women in science and technology has also reflected in young people’s idea of what someone who works in science and technology looks like, because when they were asked to draw a picture of someone who had a career in those fields, out of 200 ‘’only 14 drew women’’. She believes that there should be ‘’a real focus on successful women’’ in those industries which is something she tried to promote at the event with demonstrations being led by women such as Liz Rice who is the co founder of Tank Top TV.
The event was positively received by the children who attended the event with one girl calling the day ‘’Fantastic. I’ve learned so much’’ and one boy saying he had found the day ‘’Very fun and very challenging’’