Belfast Telegraph

Friday 1 August 2014

It’s all hands on tech as future innovators get chance to shine

Maggie Philbin
Maggie Philbin

More than 6,000 schoolchildren are set to take part in Northern Ireland’s largest ever science and technology exhibition.

Former Tomorrow’s World presenter Maggie Philbin is helping to launch the CultureTech Junior event, which will take place in The Venue at Ebrington Square from September 12-14.

The first two days of the festival will be reserved for schools, community organisations and education providers with the final day open to the public.

Organisers are preparing for upwards of 2,000 young people to visit each day.

The festival will host exhibits from international technology companies, globally-recognised organisations like CERN, regional highlights like W5 and a host of local partners.

It will form part of the wider CultureTech week-long digital festival taking place in Derry.

One of the highlights of the junior programme will be the first visit to Northern Ireland of TeenTech, which will bring major technology companies to the city to meet and work with over 500 teenagers across two days.

Speaking ahead of the launch, co-founder of TeenTech, Maggie Philbin — who is also co-presenter of the BBC’s Bang Goes the Theory — said: “We are thrilled to bring TeenTech to Northern Ireland and very proud to be part of CultureTech.

“There are exciting opportunities for young people in dynamic science, technology and engineering companies.

“We want to make sure they understand how they can be part of this world.

“TeenTech is a chance for Northern Ireland to inspire the in

novators of the future, to show teenagers the skills they need.”

The Junior programme is being funded through the festival's partnership with US firm Seagate, which employs over 1,300 people in Derry.

Dr Brian Burns, vice-president of Seagate Springtown, said: “Over the course of Seagate's 20-year history in Derry/Londonderry, we have invested heavily in the development and training of our people and in technology to ensure that we stay at the leading edge of our industry.

“We have also always acknowledged that the ability to attract a high calibre workforce has been, and will continue to be, a key element to our success.

“With that in mind, we have, over the last two decades, developed an extensive schools outreach programme with a strong focus on promoting the STEM subjects — disciplines from which we draw a high proportion of our recruits.

“We're proud to say that the combined elements of that programme reach in excess of 1,200 students each year.”

School groups and community organisations can register their interest in CultureTech Junior by contacting School Employer Connections on 028 7136 4656 or by e-mail to CTJ@seconnections.org.

Factfile

CultureTech Junior will culminate on Saturday, September 14 with an enormous Coder Dojo event, for 500 young people. This is a voluntary movement which teaches thousands of children around the globe to write software code.

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