The Dean of Life and Health Sciences involved in the UK's first TechxFest, to inspire the new generation of children to consider technical careers.

  • Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Dr Sally Akehurst, Dean of Life and Health Sciences at the University of Roehampton London, is a member of the steering group leading TechxFest, the UK’s first technical careers showcase event, which took place on Thursday 28 September.

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.

Almost 600 school children and staff explored the exciting world of technicians at the showcase event, with students learning about technical careers in 3D printing, data science, engineering, food technology, live production, medicine, robotics and university veterinary schools. Pupils who attended said they would ‘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.

Image - The Dean of Life and Health Sciences involved in the UK's first TechxFest, to inspire the new generation of children to consider technical careers.

Organisations including 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, which took place at Derby Arena on 28 September.

TechxFest was delivered through MI TALENT, a Research England funded transformation programme focused on advancing the status and opportunity for technical skills, roles and careers 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 Sally Akehurst, Dean of Life and Health Sciences at the University of Roehampton London, TechxFest Steering Group Member, commented: “It has been fantastic to see our original vision come to reality. Our aim is to enhance diversity in STEM and all subjects where the technical profession plays such a pivotal role to future innovation and workforce development.”

“TechxFest was created to connect hundreds of young people with industry employers of technicians, to educate them on the exciting opportunities available and open their eyes to the breadth of careers, igniting their desire to impact the future. The event was all about discovery and inspiration, and I was delighted to observe that coming to life on the day.”

“Technicians are fundamental throughout our life and health sciences provision and research at the University of Roehampton, and we are proud to be supporting the technical profession, whilst playing our part in nurturing diversity in science and health through our widening participation and STEM developments.”

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.”

Professor Chris Bussell, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Dean of the College of Science and Engineering at the University of Derby also commented: “The University of Derby is delighted to support this event which showcases the exciting range of technical career opportunities. Technicians play a crucial role and their impact is clear right across our university, from science and engineering to arts and humanities.”

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.”

To download pictures from the event please click here and to find more about TechXFest click here.