Thinking STEM at Think UTC 2016

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Thinking STEM at Think UTC 2016

Students, staff, employer partners and visitors all had a wonderful time as Bucks UTC took a day out of our normal routine to celebrate the UTC movement. The day was filled with challenges, workshops, lectures and some exciting news regarding our ambitious construction students. Read on for more info on what was a busy but highly enjoyable day. Another big part of the day for us was the launch of our BAD (Build a Dwelling) Challenge. More on that later.


Visit from local MP

The event was supported by David Lidington, MP for Aylesbury since 1992, who visit the college and see what our students were up to. He even got stuck in himself and tried his hand at bricklaying. He was shown round by our principal, Bob Harrison, met our students and saw a lot of the exciting activities going on. Mr. Lidington was certainly impressed with our students and said, “It was fantastic to see such a range of activities within the UTC being supported by some leading employers, with an impressive showcase from the students themselves demonstrating the all-important work they’re doing in STEM subjects.”

Adobe visit to showcase new software

Ben and Greg Adobe

Ben Forta of Adobe (left) and Greg Hodgson from Edge Gain (right).

Adobe is one of the most recognised software companies across the world. They have produced programs such as Photoshop, Acrobat, Illustrator and InDesign which are used by millions of people all over the world.

Visiting the UTC was Ben Forta, Senior Director of Education Initiatives. He was joined by Greg Hodgson, founder of Edge Gain, a company that provides learning for educators, students and school leaders. They specialise in creative technologies and digital learning. They showed Bucks UTC students were shown two new and innovative apps developed by Adobe.

Adobe Voice and Adobe Slate are free applications that make it easier than ever to produce wonderful videos and visual stories. Our students were particularly impressed with Slate, a product particularly popular with photographers and estate agents as it makes it so easy to showcase your work in an attractive way. Essentially, it lets the user create their own parallax website in an extremely simple way. Our students thoroughly enjoyed mocking up their own websites.

Cisco Challenge

Bucks UTC has an extremely close partnership with Cisco, a tech company know all around the world. A number of our students have been on placements with Cisco to get valuable work experience. Matthew Richards, R&D Engineering Operations Manager at Cisco, regularly visits the UTC to teach and today he had our challenge for our students. The task was to use Python to create art. Python (named after Monty Python!) is a widely-used and high-level programming language. It’s amazing to think our students can create art out of a programming language used by developers all over the world, for things like running Instagram or designing video games.


Student Showcase

A big part of the day and Think UTC as a whole was to celebrate some of the great work that students from UTCs all over the country have done in STEM subjects. The IT labs and the construction workshop were open and visitors were able to see what our students have been up to. What particularly impressed were some of the video games made by our students!


BuDS Charity Challenge

Buckinghamshire Disables Service is another close partner of Bucks UTC and they were here on the day. In the past we have run a number of projects with them, such as building a disabled viewing platform at the Phoenixbury festival in 2015.

Today the challenge was a sponsored run around our campus. Students could go at their own pace, whether they wanted to sprint or saunter. Congratulations go to Liam and Waj who managed 19 laps!

Andrew from BuDS

Andrew from BuDS (centre), Bob Harrison (left) and David Lidington (right).

Lectures from our employer sponsors

Employer partners visited and ran lectures to our students, staff and guests. We were thrilled to have ESRI, Taylor Wimpey and Cisco in to give all in insight into their businesses.

Taylor Wimpey – From Taylor Wimpey, we were lucky enough to welcome Sabrina. Sabrina is currently on the Taylor Wimpey trainee management scheme and gave an overview of the scheme in her presentation. Having been on the course for just over a year and a half, she is currently working in the sales & marketing department. This just goes to show how many different roles are available at a company like Taylor Wimpey, who are always keen to attract young people into their business.

Cisco – Matthew Richards once again took to the stage to talk about the future of networking, how Cisco provides next-generation networking capabilities and also give an overview of career opportunities at Cisco. A number of ou students have been on placements at Cisco, and if they wish, they leave us with a Cisco Networking qualification. Not many schools can offer that!

ESRI – Visiting from ESRI was Jonathan, currently in his second year of a graduate scheme. As part of his graduate scheme, he works in all different departments of ESRI to get a good feel for how the company as a whole. His lecture was all about GIS mapping (Geographic Information Systems). Students were surprised at just how much GIS mapping is used in our lives without even knowing about it, for example in Sat Navs.