PUPILS from Lansdowne Primary Academy were among the first in the UK to receive a free robotics workshop at Amazon’s fulfilment centre in Tilbury, seeing how computer science works in the real world.
The workshop is part of ‘Amazon Future Engineer’, a comprehensive childhood-to-career programme designed to inspire, educate and enable more than one million children and young adults to try computer science over the next two years. The robotics training – specifically geared towards primary school pupils – has been devised together with Fire Tech Camp and is accredited by the British Science Association.
“We’ve opened our doors to show how coding and robotics are applied in the real world, giving children hands-on demonstrations using miniature robots that use similar technology to that which powers our customer order fulfilment,” said Paul Atkins-Barber, a tour leader at Amazon in Tilbury. “The pupils from Lansdowne Primary Academy were a delight to meet and we hope that many more schools will have fun taking part.”
Amazon Future Engineer has been launched as new independent research by Capital Economics reveals the UK needs an additional 38,000 workers with computer science-related skills, including 21,000 computer science graduates, to meet labour demands every year. Without addressing this issue, the economy faces losing out on an estimated £33 billion per year by 2030.
Speaking after the workshop, Lansdowne Primary Academy Assistant Head Oliver Kelly said:
“We enjoyed a brilliant, engaging workshop and it was great to see robotics technology come to life. The chance for our pupils to experience robotics technology used by industry leaders like Amazon will undoubtedly inspire many of them to embrace a career in STEM industries once they’ve finished their studies. On behalf of our school, I’d like to say a huge thank you to Amazon for the workshop.”
Honey, aged 8, added: “The robots were so cool! Me and my friends loved playing with them and seeing them doing really cool tricks. I can’t believe we had robots in our school, it was really good fun!”
In 2020, Amazon will embark on a road trip across the UK, bringing robotics workshops to primary schools around the country.
Amazon has also helped to create an interactive dance-themed online coding tutorial together with non-profit organisation Code.org, featuring songs from leading artists, with the aim of reaching a million children in the UK.
Globally, tens of millions of children and young people have already participated in Hour of Code tutorials since 2013. One hour of learning through Hour of Code is proven to have a positive impact on students, with a significant increase in the number of students saying they like computer science and perform better in computer science tasks.
For secondary schools, Amazon is working with the education charity Teach First to support the recruitment and training of 50 secondary school computer science teachers. They will also support with the training of over 200 Teach First ‘Careers Leaders’, a programme run by the charity which supports leaders in schools to develop a long-term school-wide careers strategy to improve students’ opportunities. After two years of running Amazon Future Engineer in the UK, this investment in teachers is expected to benefit 50,000 secondary school students.
In higher education, Amazon is funding 120 apprenticeships in software development engineering, automation and advanced mechatronics – enabling a diverse range of applicants to enter the computer science field. In addition, Amazon is funding 20 bursaries for students studying computer science at UK universities, enabling students from low-income backgrounds to pursue technology careers.
Amazon Future Engineer is part of the Amazon in the Community programme, which aims to ensure more children and young adults have the resources and skills they need to build their best and brightest futures.
Schools and families wishing to book a free robotics workshop at their nearest Amazon fulfilment centre, or to find out more about how Amazon Future Engineer is supporting teacher training, apprenticeships and bursaries, can do so by visiting: www.amazonfuturengineer.co.uk
To find out more about the Amazon in the Community programme, please visit: https://www.aboutamazon.co.uk/amazon-in-the-community