Sage and the IET team up for LEGO League Challenge

15th March 2024
Sheryl Miles

Hundreds of regional school children have taken part in a competition dedicated to Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) learning with LEGO.

Sage, the accounting, financial, HR, and payroll technology company for small and mid-sized businesses (SMBS), has teamed up for the eighth year running with FIRST LEGO League to support STEM learning amongst 4–16 year olds.

The event spans four days and involves 53 schools, 85 teams, 80 Sage Foundation volunteers, 600 children, and 138,724 LEGO bricks, making it the region’s largest FIRST LEGO League event to date. The aim is to empower young people to explore robotics and innovative projects using the humble LEGO brick.

Research from Just Eat (November 2023) suggests that in the North East almost three quarters (72%) of young people think more should be done to support them with routes into the STEM field. When young people from the North East were asked about their knowledge of STEM careers, two-in-five (39%) said that they had heard of them but would not know how to pursue one.

Since 2017, Sage, in collaboration with the FIRST LEGO League and the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), has focussed on expanding the FIRST LEGO League across the UK and Ireland.  

Sage partners with the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) to support the FIRST LEGO League program, supported by Education North Tyneside, part of North Tyneside Council and Northumberland ICT. This collaboration between public and private sectors has been highly successful to date helping the FIRST LEGO League to engage with more than 500,000 young individuals, including 14,000 in the North East.

Cadence Willis, VP Sage Foundation, said: “This event is focussed on removing stereotypes and supporting inclusivity in STEM learning. We have a critical role to inspire and empower the brilliant young people within our region to make sure there are open doors, not glass ceilings, when it comes to regional STEM learning.

“This is where our programme with FIRST LEGO League and the IET comes into its own as it helps to nurture creativity and problem solving in young minds in an exciting real-world way. The children also work as part of a team, which helps to foster a sense of belonging and support. Schools come back year-on-year to take part and it really is infectious.”

Hannah Rees, Senior Education Manager at the IET, said: “FIRST LEGO League allows young people to experience engineering in action. It gives students the opportunity to get hands-on experience with robotics and design innovative solutions to real world problems, all whilst bringing excitement to STEM subjects. Programming, teamwork, problem-solving and communications skills have never been so much fun and gives students an insight into the creative careers that the wonderful world of engineering offers. 

“There is a great need for young people with STEM skills to fill the next generation of engineering roles as the UK faces a nationwide skills shortage. The competition empowers young people to think about a possible career in engineering and technology and we are excited to see such bright young engineering minds in FIRST LEGO League.”

Emily Ord, Computing Teacher at Tweedmouth Community Middle School said, "A few years ago, we started with 20 kids, and now we have 140 children attending LEGO Robotics clubs after school – 48 of them are here today.

“At FIRST LEGO  League our children can be themselves, and don’t have to fit into a specific mould. The result is incredible – these children, who may not speak much in school, confidently engage with judges for 10 minutes. It's truly amazing to witness the boost in confidence these children experience. I'm deeply passionate about the FIRST LEGO League and all the positive impacts it brings to our students."

As above we're partnering with the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) to fund the delivery the program, they are the official delivery partner or FIRST LEGO League in the UK and Ireland). Education North Tyneside (delivered by North Tyneside Council) and Northumberland ICT (Part of Northumberland County Council) also physically run and coordinate the program in the schools themselves that take part in the tournament it would be good to recognise this.

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