This year the South West teams produced an impressive array of working electronics models and prototypes to demonstrate their ideas

UKESF Go4SET SW regional final

UKESF Go4SET finals of electronic engineering challenge for 12-14 year olds from the South West

Overal Winners team photo
Overall Winners from Ridgeway School (sponsored by Intel Corporation) © EDT

This week, the University of Bristol hosted the regional finals of the UKESF-Go4SET challenge, which is raising awareness of the electronics sector among school pupils aged 12-14 and helping to reverse the decline in students undertaking electronics courses at university. This decline is cited as a key threat to the £78 billion UK industry, which has an active hub in the South West.

The finals are the culmination of 10-week long electronic engineering projects and saw eight teams of six students from across the South West competing to present their visions and prototypes of future technologies.

The initiative has been developed by the UK Electronics Skills Foundation in partnership with the Engineering Development Trust.

Teams have been sponsored and mentored by industry partners and the University of Bristol. Proving that electronics plays an important role in our everyday lives, students came up with ideas for technology applications that include sport, art, food, teaching and entertainment.

The teams were from six schools in Bristol and the South West: Brimsham Green School, Badminton School (two teams), Colston’s Collegiate School, Gordano School, Kingsdown School and Ridgeway School (two teams). They were supported by CSR, Dialog Semiconductor, Imagination Technologies, Intel Corporation, RS Components, Semtech and the University of Bristol.

This is the second time the project has been run in the South West and, following last year’s successful inaugural event, the project has been rolled out nationwide. Cambridge will be hosting its regional finals on the 31st March.

Ridgeway School's E-watch
Ridgeway School (sponsored by Dialog Semiconductor) shows off its E-watch © EDT

This year the South West teams produced an impressive array of working electronics models and prototypes to demonstrate their ideas.

Ridgeway School, Swindon, produced two winning teams; the overall winner for a “GLO” health and fitness watch which monitors blood pressure, sugar level and weight distribution during exercise and displays information on a remote app; and the most innovative award for an “E-watch” which has the capability to register and find students and teachers and update students on their next lesson with information such as room changes and supply teachers.

The Pupil’s Choice award went to Badminton School for its electronic computer keyboard using small OLED display modules to change alphanumeric characters depending on the language a student wishes to type.

Chris Ward, Regional Director for EDT South West reported: “The assessors judged the Ridgeway School team to be the overall winner as it demonstrated very good team work and excellent project management skills. The team also gave a presentation beyond their years, well-rehearsed and delivered fluently, without any notes. All the teams produced great projects, however what set this team apart was the high standard in which they met all assessment criteria.”

Despite UCAS data showing a significant rise in demand for engineering and technology courses since 2002, there was a 26 per cent drop in British applicants to electronics engineering courses between 2002 and 2013. The gender gap is also significant with females typically making up less than 8 per cent (1 in 12) of UK applicants.