UTC Plymouth students unveil innovative Plymouth STEM app

UTC Plymouth, part of Reach South Academy Trust, today unveiled an innovative new app designed to co-ordinate local STEM activity, supporting the delivery of the STEM Plymouth Strategic Plan and increase the number of post-16 students studying or working in STEM fields.

Designed and developed by a group of Sixth Form IT and Computing Level BTEC students, the App is for use by the Plymouth STEM Forum, and sets out in one place all STEM related activities going on in Plymouth and the surrounding area.

UTC Plymouth students decided to take on this challenge because the old system of distributing a word document listing events and initiatives meant that information was out of date almost as soon as it had been circulated. They decided that there had to be better and more effective way of sharing information, and hence the app was born!

The students have worked on its development since the start of the academic year and were delighted to unveil their work today to an audience including Cllr Jon Taylor, Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Transformation, and Dean Ashton, Chief Executive of Reach South.

Cllr Taylor said: “Key learning around science, technology, engineering and maths is a priority area in the Plymouth Plan for Employment and Skills, which aims to help broaden career choices, so I’m really impressed with the work the students have done to make this new STEM app a reality. It’s another fantastic example that shows just how important these core skills are for the city’s future.”

Dean Ashton, Chief Executive of Reach South said: “It’s so very impressive that this talented group of sixth-formers have designed and launched this fantastic new app. Now, more than ever before, we need to attract more young people into STEM employment. Plymouth has established itself as a centre for STEM excellence – we want our young people to benefit from this, but they need to know that the opportunities are out there, and on our doorstep. I am incredibly proud of the work that has gone on here at UTC Plymouth and look forward to seeing the impact that the new app has going forward.”

Polly Lovell, Principal of UTC Plymouth said: “It is vital that our students get 'real life experience'; the management of this app by our Sixth Form Computing students has given them the skills and expertise to move forward with their chosen pathway. It is a perfect example of The UTC model engaging with real live scenarios.”

Simon Pykett, Project Lead & Computer Science Teacher said: "Our students have shown some serious resilience and commitment to both their studies and to the production of the STEM app. The experiences and skills that the group are gaining from real-world scenarios such as this cannot be learned in the classroom alone. This again demonstrates UTC Plymouth’s solid reputation for providing young STEM ambassadors within the City of Plymouth and I am proud to be part of their journey."

STEM app Manager, Kaye Richards (16) said: "The app has made STEM content and STEM activities more accessible throughout Plymouth. It's up to date and fits in with today’s digital mindset of accessibility. The experiences that I've gained from writing live code, taking regular backups and ensuring that the feed remains live gives me a feeling of responsibility and excitement."

CSS Developer, Gloria Oladokun (16) said: "The responsibilities that I've been given in terms of styling the content is a big one as it's incredibly easy to break the code and indeed the overall framework. The STEM app runs like a little business as we all have separate roles and specific tasks that we must ensure are carried out to make sure that the app continues to be functional. "

HTML Developer, Jack Tuckwell (16), said: "On completion of my B-Tec Level 3 computing course I would like to use knowledge and skills I have gained within this excellent course to find employment within the computing industry. I aspire to work with a multi-national company such as IBM."