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FIRST Tech Challenge

The UK’s most epic STEM enrichment programme for young people*. We're not building robots, we're building the future.
*as voted by robots


FIRST Tech Challenge

Students design, build and program a robot to take on a global challenge with support from industry mentors.

Students occupy diverse roles linked to careers so they can think, operate and collaborate as innovators. Students apply the learning to real-world scenarios, bridging the classroom with the workplace.

Teams of up to 15 young people aged 12 to 18 years meet weekly for a couple of hours in school or as an after-school club. We support schools, SEND and alternative providers to make STEM education and careers accessible and inclusive.

Access to resources and session plans are provided via an e-learning platform from September. Pre-season, September to December, content includes:

  • confidence builders in CAD
  • programming
  • community outreach
  • brand and communications
  • finding a mentor
  • team building

In March champion schools within each hub provide access to a games field for practice and host the local tournament in May.

Industry partners, universities and local STEM hubs provide mentors and event volunteers. We intend to operate up to 15 hubs UK-wide in 2020-21 with capacity for around 400 participating schools.


Minimum of 5 participants, maximum of 15 participants.

A nominal commitment fee of £99 provides access to the programme, content, tournaments, individual learner accreditation and team awards. Charity bursaries for robotics kits and other grants supporting participation including travel and supply cover are available subject to eligibility.

Dates and Location

In response to COVID-19 the 2020-21 build season will run from January to July with pre-season content available from September for those seeking advance access.


Weekly for 1 to 2 hours as an after school club, or within curriculum optimised for KS3 & KS4 (GCSE Engineering, D&T or Computer Science). The programme is usually spread over 2 terms (typically Sep to Mar), although in response to CV-19 disruption the 2020-21 build season will commence from January to July with pre-season content available from September for those seeking advance access. Delivery can be compressed into other delivery models e.g. holiday clubs and intense multi-day builds.


Learning outcomes

  • Improve engagement, interest or enjoyment in STEM subjects

  • Improve attainment and progress in STEM subjects

  • Learning what the engineering workplace is like

  • Develop engineering employability skills

  • Improve awareness and aspirations for STEM-related study and careers

  • Challenge stereotypes by showing the diversity of disciplines, people and skills involved in engineering

Subjects and topics

    • Chemistry
    • Computing
    • Design and Technology
    • Engineering
    • Design/Art/Fashion
    • Electronics/Robotics/Programming
    • Materials/Products/Manufacturing
    • Structures/Construction/Civil Engineering

Gatsby benchmark hitter

The Gatsby benchmarks are a framework for good careers guidance for schools across all of England and in some areas across the rest of the UK. This experience helps your school to reach the following benchmarks:

  • Linking curriculum learning to careers
  • Encounters with employers and employees
  • Encounters with further and higher education

Essential skills

The essential skills every young person needs to succeed in education and their future career. Find out more at the Skills Builder Partnership. This experience builds the following skills:

  • Aiming High - the ability to set clear, tangible goals and devise a robust route to achieving them.

  • Creativity - the use of imagination and the generation of new ideas.

  • Leadership - supporting, encouraging and motivating others to achieve a shared goal.

  • Listening - the ability to listen and understand information.

  • Problem Solving - the ability to find a solution to a complex situation or challenge.

  • Speaking - the oral transmission of information or ideas.

  • Staying Positive - the ability to use tactics to overcome setbacks and achieve goals.

  • Teamwork - working cooperatively with others towards achieving a shared goal.

What the teachers say

We would love to read all about your time with this experience!

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Careers resources