PRESS RELEASES

Gatwick Airport hosts LEGO® robotics tournament for local schools

16/01/2017

  • Regional FIRST® LEGO® League Tournament hosted at airport for third consecutive year
  • Students from eight schools across Sussex and Surrey took part
  • Gatwick continues to support national drive to excite young people about Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM)

For the third consecutive year, Gatwick Airport hosted the Sussex and Surrey FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL) regional tournament, which saw teams of students from eight schools in the region compete to build LEGO® robots.

FIRST® LEGO® League is an international robotics-based competition, which the airport has partnered, to excite young people aged 9 to 16 years about Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM). FLL is a collaboration between FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition in Science and Technology) and LEGO®. It started in the USA in 1998 with 210 teams and has now grown to a global competition with 30,000 teams involving more than half a million young people.

The event, which took place in the Sofitel Hotel, North Terminal, was attended by 10 students from each school. The roboteers had up to 10 weeks before the tournament to build and program their robots around this year’s ‘Animal Allies’ theme before putting them through their paces to complete a set of missions on the thematic play surface.

The teams were judged on their ability to build and program the robot, their research, teamwork and presentation skills.

The judging panel, which included members of Gatwick staff, chose Reigate St Mary's Prep and Choir School as the overall winners, who will now go through to the FLL International Open Championship in Bath, the first time an international final has been held in the UK. The winners of the National Finals will then represent the UK and Ireland at either the European Open Championships or the FLL World Festival.

Chris Woodroofe, Gatwick’s Chief Operations Officer, said:
“Gatwick is proud to have once again hosted the regional FIRST® LEGO® League tournament and thanks all of the schools and their students for participating. The standard of entries was extremely high and we’re delighted to be helping inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers from our local community.”

Mandy Workman, Education Manager at the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) said: “The IET runs this programme because it is so effective at inspiring young people to follow an engineering career. The problem-solving, communication, teamwork and technical skills they learn whilst competing in the FIRST® LEGO® League help them stand out to future employers. They gain confidence in their ability and ideas and learn how to work together in a multi-disciplinary team.”

Daniel Hawkins, Project Manager, STEM Sussex, University of Brighton, said:
“It was fantastic to see the energy and enthusiasm from the students who took part. The competition supports learning in programming and engineering and provides an engaging challenge for students to appreciate how these skills can be used to overcome problems. Gatwick Airport provides an inspiring venue for these young people and gives a chance for them to meet with professionals from STEM backgrounds and put their learning in context.”

About London Gatwick

Gatwick Airport is the UK’s second largest airport and the most efficient single-runway airport in the world. It serves more than 228 destinations in 74 countries for 44 million passengers a year on short and long-haul point-to-point services. It is also a major economic driver for the UK contributing £5.3 billion to national GDP and generating 85,000 jobs nationally, with around 24,000 on the wider airport campus alone. The airport is south of Central London with excellent public transport links, including the Gatwick Express, and is part of the Oyster contactless payment network. Gatwick Airport is owned by a group of international investment funds, of which Global Infrastructure Partners is the largest shareholder.

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