Popular Danish construction toys manufacturer Lego will give its Mindstorms kits to 25 schools to boost interest in engineering.
Joining the UK's Elite Engineering Programe (EPP), Lego is now encouraging schools to apply to receive the Mindstorms kits, containing software and hardware to create small, customisable and programmable robots, in total value of some £3,000.
Schools selected for the programme, will put together teams of students older than 12 years that will engage in building robots that will compete in national and international competitions.
The EEP is a private sector initiative supported by the Royal Academy of Engineering, aiming to encourage the interest of young people in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths, in order to address the critical UK skill shortage.
According to data published last year by the Royal Academy of Engineering, the UK needs to increase by around 50 per cent the number of graduates in the STEM disciplines in order to cover the country’s future needs.
"We know from the feedback we've already had from teachers that the MINDSTORMS Education EV3 has a huge impact on students,” said Gareth Boldsworth, Director at LEGO Education Europe, explaining why the company has decided to contribute to the effort.
“It engages them (the students) in fun, but realistic, engineering challenges. We're keen to make the resource available to young people who might not otherwise get the opportunity to discover that they have a real flair for engineering," he said.
"Young people learn best from practical experience. I'm really excited at the prospect of EV3 as it delivers STEM subjects in an unforgettable and engaging way,” said Kate Bellingham, former Tomorrow's World presenter, and now an education consultant and teacher. “I think the only problem teachers will have in delivering these lessons is getting the students to leave the classroom at the end."