Teenagers Learn About Computing and Microelectronics with the Smallpeice Trust

Leamington Spa, United Kingdom, August 20, 2014 --(PR.com)-- From 28th July to 1st August, forty-eight budding engineers from across the UK attended a Computing and Microelectronics residential course hosted by Electronics and Computer Science (ECS) at the University of Southampton. Sponsored by ARM and organised by The Smallpeice Trust, the course provided the 15 to 17 year old students with the opportunity to explore the exciting and wide-ranging theory and practice of computing and electronic engineering.

Supported by volunteers from Student Robotics, the students were tasked with designing, building and programming a fully autonomous robot, capable of participating in an exciting robot league competition on the final day for which ARM donated the prizes. The robots had to navigate their way around a specially constructed arena, gaining points by collecting tokens, returning them to their home area, and placing them into buckets.

Students gained experience of planning, teamwork, time management, technical design and build, and learned to use the modular Student Robotics electronic kit and vision system to control their robots.

Students also took part in masterclasses on subjects on nanofabrication of graphene transistors, energy harvesting and high voltage engineering.

Social activities included a trip to a bowling alley, a film night and a formal course dinner offering students the opportunity to discuss their projects and discover more about careers within computing and microelectronics.

David Oakley, Senior Teaching Fellow, for The University of Southampton commented, “This course enables the students to exhibit and learn a wide range of electronic and computing skills valued by industry. Many of the students will be applying for University this year and hopefully this course has inspired them to pursue a degree in an associated discipline. We know this can be the case as a number of our current undergraduates attended this course in previous years.”

Simon Humphrey, Corporate Responsibility Manager for ARM commented, “As an employer of over 3000 people, most of whom are engineers, we strongly believe this country needs to inspire young, talented people to pursue careers in STEM subjects. The Computing and Microelectronics residential course inspires students towards a career in engineering by developing technical and inter-social skills which are valuable to employers. We thank The Smallpeice Trust, the University of Southampton and the Student Robotics Team for providing this engaging opportunity for young students.

Chief Executive for The Smallpeice Trust, Dr Kevin Stenson added, “We are most grateful to ARM for continuing to sponsor this worthwhile experience. The course has demonstrated to some bright and enthusiastic young people just how advances in computing, multimedia and telecommunications technologies continue to provide exciting and rewarding careers within the field. Over the five days, it was great to see the students really beginning to think creatively like engineers.”

The Computing and Microelectronics course is organised by independent charity, The Smallpeice Trust, and is part of an on-going programme of residential courses to help young people aged 12 to 18 learn and develop skills in engineering, design, technology and manufacturing. Through running residential courses and STEM enrichment days, The Trust has reached out to 17,495 students across the UK in the past year.

The new course timetable for 2015 will be launched in the autumn school term. Places are allocated on a first come, first served basis. To find out more, visit www.smallpeicetrust.org.uk, or telephone The Smallpeice Trust on 01926 333200.

Notes to Editors

About The Smallpeice Trust:

The Smallpeice Trust is an independent charitable trust which promotes engineering as a career, primarily through the provision of residential courses for young people aged 12 to 18.

The Smallpeice Trust was founded in 1966 by Dr Cosby Smallpeice, a pioneering engineer and inventor of the Smallpeice Lathe. Following the stock market flotation of his company Martonair, Dr Smallpeice invested his energy and part of his personal fortune to set up the Trust to ensure that British industry could continuously benefit from his proven design and engineering philosophies: “Simplicity in design, economy in production.”

The Trust is now governed by an eminent board of non-executive trustees and members from a diverse range of engineering, industry, educational and professional bodies.

Over the past year, The Smallpeice Trust has engaged with 17,495 young people through 35 different subsidised residential courses, in-school STEM Days and starting up STEM Clubs. More emphasis has been put on programmes physically delivered by The Smallpeice Trust. The Smallpeice Trust has also trained 1,280 teachers to enhance their delivery of STEM in the classroom.

A strong interface is maintained with industry, education and professional bodies that help to support, promote and develop the courses. Through these relationships the Trust is also able to provide a number of tailored or specialised courses.
The Smallpeice Trust
Claire Fisher
+44(0)1926 333203