EEF, the Manufacturers’ Organisation, hosted its first ever hackathon in the hope that it will solve the problem of how to attract more young people into the manufacturing industry. The manufacturing and engineering sectors in the UK need to recruit 265,000 new professionals annually by 2024.
To tackle this issue, EEF challenged its members, experts and young people to find new, creative methods of using technology to trigger a recruitment drive in the field. Representatives from iconic British firms such as Williams F1, Japanese photography giant Fuji Films and prestigious cosmetic brand Estee Lauder took part in the hackathon, together with pioneering computing and technology experts, students from the University of Westminster and apprentices from Harris Academy.
Hosting the events was founder of Mobile UX London, Naveed Ratansi, who teamed up with Kate Russell, technology expert, reporter and regular on BBC Click, to provide an informative masterclass for the audience. They identified key technology trends and covered the interesting technological breakthroughs over the past five decades.
After the discussion, attendees were split into groups of mixed backgrounds and were asked to solve the recruitment crisis. One entry designed a Facebook Live-style TV show, whereby the hosts would challenge STEM-related groups and local youth clubs to record and submit their very own life hacks, with the winner chosen by the public.
The winner of EEF’s task clinched the best idea prize by setting out to influence and inspire new generations to challenge the conventional perceptions of engineering. The group produced an augmented reality app that merges engineering to the interests of each pupil.
The team pitched the winning idea in Dragon Den’s style environment to judge’s reporter Kate Russell, Programme Director at University of Westminster Savraj Matharu and EEF’s Chief Strategy & Corporate Development Officer Mark Bernard, while the others teams watched on.