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The MIRA Technology Institute (MTI) welcomed TV scientist Dallas Campbell who played host to a virtual TeenTech Innovation Day on Thursday 13 May 2021 designed to interest young people in careers in science and technology. 

Dallas, who specialises in engineering, space, geography and the natural environment is a regular presenter of Stargazing Live, the Gadget Show and BBC1’s Bang Goes the Theory. The event was one of a series of lively interactive virtual events led by the awarding-winning TeenTech Charity 

Thanks to the kind support of North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College in partnership with North Warwickshire Borough CouncilNuneaton & Bedworth Borough Council, and Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council, around 220 Year 9 students from eight local schools were inspired by organisations including Wincanton, HORIBA MIRA and Sky. The TeenTech innovation day aims to help students understand the fast-changing world of science and technology whilst demonstrating clear pathways for students who are keen to develop their skills. 

Working face to face with over 12,000 young people every year, TeenTech was founded by former Tomorrow’s World presenter Maggie Philbin to help young people understand contemporary career opportunities and the skills they will need to get involved. The organisation is particularly effective at encouraging girls and students from disadvantaged backgrounds to consider careers in technology, engineering, construction, and the applied sciences.  

At the event, students learned about how they could become the innovators of tomorrow with interactive presentations and videos outlining current technological developments and exciting future careers. Sky Q explained the background to its Sky Q app and opportunities in the digital arena; Wincanton discussed the development of Hinckley Point, one of the largest logistics construction projects in Europe, and HORIBA MIRA showcased its work on the importance coding and cybersecurity skills in emerging automotive technology. Dallas Campbell presented the story of aviation through the years showcasing an aircraft that makes use of 600 laptop batteries to get airborne. 

Students also heard about how opportunities at the MTI and NWSLC could see them take the first steps into exciting STEM careers through a range of study programmes, T Levels, industry placements and apprenticeships. 

Young people from Midland Academies Trust schools including Heath Lane Academy, Hartshill School, the George Eliot School, and the Nuneaton Academy were joined by others including students with special educational needs and disabilities from Dorothy Goodman School in Hinckley.  

Marion Plant, OBE FCGI, Principal and Chief Executive of North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College said, “The TeenTech programme is a fantastic opportunity for young people to gain inspiration for their future careers. They may not have considered choosing engineering or technology, but this type of event demonstrates that solving problems can be fun and hugely rewarding. On behalf of our partners, a heartfelt thank you for staging this exciting online experience.” 

Lisa Bingley, Operations Director for the MTI said, “The future of the UK depends on skills in science, technology, engineering, and maths. We need young people to be inspired by STEM careers so that we have a workforce able to overcome the challenges now facing the transport industry with the development of autonomous, connected, electric and shared vehicle technology, and the challenges brought by electrification, cybersecurity and emissions.” 

Maggie Philbin, CEO TeenTech said, “It’s vital that young people understand that in our fast- changing world every job will involve skills which frequently combine technical, creative and social ability. Often these areas are siloed but our TeenTech events bring those elements together, so students can clearly see how those skills are applied in different workplaces. We work in partnership with regional companies and educational institutions because we want students to understand that these exciting opportunities and the training are right on their doorstep.” 

The MTI is helping to create specialist skills in some of the new emerging technology areas including electrification and driverless cars. Since it first opened its doors, the MTI has welcomed over 12,000 students and delegates. This includes over 800 studying for accredited qualifications from a Level 1 Institute of the Motor Industry certificate up to Masters’ degrees, and over 360 following apprenticeships at all levels. More than 8,000 automotive professionals have taken part in professional development activities. 

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