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Tameside firm promotes STEM careers with local students

40 students entered the Grand Challenge, taking inspiration from Brother UK’s current product range

Business technology solutions provider, Brother UK, has hosted Tameside’s fifth annual HACK event as part of its 50thanniversary celebrations, in partnership with Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council.

Students from local high schools and colleges visited Brother UK’s Audenshaw headquarters over two days, taking part in a programme of activities designed to explore science, technology, maths and engineering (STEM) subjects and the associated career opportunities.

40 students entered the Grand Challenge, taking inspiration from Brother UK’s current product ranges to imagine the next 50 years of technology.  With a focus on increasing efficiency, boosting productivity and encouraging collaboration in the workplace, the students were challenged to develop a product that Brother could be making, selling or working with between now and 2068.

Phil Jones MBE, Managing Director of Brother UK, commented: “The technology we supply to our customers now is very different to the technology we were working with when we first started out.  50 years of innovation have gone into making us the business technology solutions supplier that we are today – it’s been great to meet some of the brightest minds from local schools to see what they think the next 50 years could bring.”

To judge the competition Phil Jones was joined by Andy Johnson, Head of Product Solutions at Brother UK, and Naomi Timperley, co-founder of Tech North Advocates – an organisation which champions the North of England’s potential as a world-class hub for tech and digital businesses.

The judges were on hand to support the students as they brainstormed business ideas, reviewed market trends and developed their digital skills.  A series of inspirational talks was also delivered throughout the two days, to offer guidance with the Grand Challenge as well as broader career advice.

The winning team in the Grand Challenge was called ‘Foreseers’, made up of Will Aspery Carr, Jack Pullen and James Gregory from Longdendale High School in Hollingworth.  Their virtual reality contact lenses idea impressed the judges for being well-researched and well-presented, with features including smartphone connectivity and a virtual assistant called ‘Brother’. The winners were presented with £100 Amazon vouchers, a pile of Tameside HACK goodies and a Brother UK office solution for their school or college.

A sub-challenge was set to find a new technology or software solution that would make life easier for people with disabilities.  The winners were Poppy Wall-Chappell, Tatyana Sajid and Tamania Hussain – or ‘Computerspiele’ – from Fairfield High School for Girls in Droylsden.  The team proposed a synthetic wrapping product to protect vulnerable body organs, with sensors that link to an app.

Naomi Timperley commented: “It’s great to see the appetite for STEM careers in our local community.  Getting the students into an entrepreneurial mindset will help them become more employable as they look beyond school and college, giving them the skills to make a positive impact in our society.”