University of Leicester joins TechxFest in inspiring 100s of children to explore the world of technical careers

Almost 600 school children, teachers and staff explored the exciting world of technicians at TechxFest, the UK’s first event dedicated to showcasing the breadth of technical careers. 

TechxFest aims to inspire the next generation of technicians, encouraging young people to consider a future technical career path, whilst informing teaching staff about the range of career pathways and options.

Children learned about technical careers in 3D printing, data science, engineering, food technology, live production, medicine, robotics and university veterinary schools. 

The University of Leicester attended with technical staff from Space Park Leicester and the Department of Genetics and Genome Biology, joined by Outreach Officer Joseph Glover from the Future Students Office. Activities on offer included matching the life cycle of the Drosophila Melanogaster, a fruit fly used in biological sciences research, while a popular activity at the Space Park Leicester exhibit stand was an augmented reality headset showing an augmented view of the Bepi-Coloumbo space craft. The Lunar and Martian meteorites were also very popular!

Diana Martin, Technician from the Department of Genetics and Genome Biology at the University of Leicester said: "It was a great experience working alongside technical staff from all over the Midlands to inspire young minds."

Gemma Black, Head of Technical Services Development and Strategy at the University of Leicester, said: “It was wonderful to see so many students attend TechxFest interacting with the activities and talking about their future aspirations. Outreach is vital to ensuring the longevity and sustainability of technical skills and careers in Higher Education, Research and Industry which is vital to future UK science and innovation.”

Pupils who attended said they will ‘look deeper into technical careers’, ‘research careers in engineering’ and were excited about learning more about technical jobs in health and the renewable energy sector. 

Industry giants Bentley, Octopus Energy, Rolls-Royce and Nestlé Waters were among the 50+ exhibitors who brought technical skills to life with engaging activities and demonstrations at the inaugural event, at Derby Arena on 28 September. 

MI TALENT, a Research England funded transformation programme to advance status and opportunity for technical skills, roles and careers, led the delivery of TechxFest in partnership with the University of Nottingham, University of Derby, Amanda Solloway, MP for Derby North, and Dr Sally Akehurst, Dean of Life and Health Sciences, University of Roehampton, London.

Dr Kelly Vere MBE, University Director of Technical Strategy at the University of Nottingham, and TALENT Lead said: “Technicians play a vital role in all aspects of society, yet the technical profession suffers from a lack of visibility and recognition.

“This unique event created a space for young people to have valuable conversations with apprentice technicians, senior technicians, and employers of technicians. After learning about coding, drones, drama and engineering, pupils told us they have been inspired to ‘open up their options’ and ‘explore more’ technical options in their future.

“Inspiring the next generation of technicians through outreach activities is a recommendation in the national TALENT Commission report, which sets out a blueprint for the future of the UK’s technical workforce in higher education and research. I’m confident that TechxFest is one of many future initiatives to highlight varied technical career opportunities across all sectors.”

Amanda Solloway MP for Derby North launched the TALENT programme in her former role as Science Minister and said: “Derby is the birthplace and home of science and innovation, so I am thrilled to have played a part in bringing this amazing event to the city. 

“The children attending have been full of enthusiasm and I think we are really helping to inspire the next generation of innovators. It is critical to motivate the next generation of technicians and engineers, whose inventiveness, innovation and perseverance will shape our future. These talented individuals are required in practically every business sector and it is up to today's young people to ensure that our changing world evolves for the better.”