STEM challenge inspires future generations

PR2465/JB - 30/09/2022

Students from every local senior school and college gathered in the Mid Sussex District Council Chamber on Friday 30 September for the launch of the Mid Sussex STEM challenge 2022.

STEM education, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics provides an excellent grounding for students who wish to pursue a career in medicine, scientific research, chemistry or engineering. There is currently a STEM skills shortage in the UK workforce, so engaging activities like the STEM Challenge have an important role to play in inspiring the next generation to develop these important skills.

Each year, talented students from schools across Mid Sussex and beyond compete against each other to complete a challenge that tests their technical engineering skills. In 2022, they must research, develop, and build a remote-control vehicle that is capable of navigating a large and complicated obstacle course. Teams are provided with a list of specifications they must meet, such as artificial intelligence, camera attachment and a motorised chassis, to ensure their vehicle is up to the test.

Eight teams from Burgess Hill Academy, Downlands Community School, Imberhorne School, Millais School, Oathall Community College, St Paul’s Catholic College, Sackville School and Warden Park Academy will battle it out to create to most agile and robust remote control vehicle, before it’s put to the test on 19 May 2023 at the South of England Showground.

Students taking part in the STEM Challenge 2022 will be supported by local engineering and medical companies who will act as mentors, working with the school to share their knowledge and show the students what it’s like to work in the industry. Staff from Flowserve, PSM Marine Engineering, Adelphi Nuffield Hospital, Bike Smart, Edwards Vacuum, Quantum Technologies, and Balfour Beatty will all be providing their advice and support to the challengers.

The STEM Challenge was launched by Councillor Jonathan Ash-Edwards, Leader of Mid Sussex District Council, Professor Winfried Hensinger from Quantum Technologies and Mr James Whitmore, The High Sheriff of West Sussex on Friday 30 September 2022.

Councillor Ruth de Mierre, Mid Sussex District Council Cabinet Member for Leisure and Parking said: “Our annual STEM challenge is a fantastic way to get local school children excited and inspired about the practical application of scientific and technical knowledge, and realise the huge range of careers open to them.

“Mid Sussex District Council is a strong supporter of the event and it’s going to be wonderful to see the students starting with nothing, and working together as a team to design and create a remote control vehicle that will be capable of traversing a testing obstacle course.

“The students taking part are the future, not only for our economy but our environment and for our health. You never know, some of them may well be part of the breakthrough to find more cures to eliminate cancer – or allow us to say ‘beam me up Scottie’ (for those of us old enough to remember!)”

Councillor Jonathan Ash-Edwards, Leader of Mid Sussex District Council, said:

“A key priority in our local plan for economic growth is a regionally significant Science & Technology Park to the west of Burgess Hill. This will help create more high skill jobs in STEM subjects locally, so it has never been more important to engage young people in these areas. I wish all the students the very best with their project”.