Technology helps provide pupils with the answers at pioneering University workshop

Imaginative pupils have been coming up with innovative ways of tackling pressing social issues at an outreach event hosted at Swansea University.

Throughout the week-long project a total of 250 pupils from Cefn Hengoed and Bishop Vaughan schools in Swansea, Cefn Saeson in Neath and  St John Lloyd Catholic Comprehensive School in Llanelli worked together to develop their ideas.

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Year 7 pupils from Bishop Vaughan taking part in the workshop at Swansea University.

The project was part of the educational charity, the Transformation Trust’s ongoing mission to bring new opportunities to young people across the country.

Working with tech giant DELL, it organises workshops to give youngsters the chance to use latest technology while experiencing university facilities.

Dell Workshop boy This was the first time the Powering Transformation programme visited a Welsh university and it saw the Year 7 and 8 pupils working in teams to take part in problem-solving challenges using technological solutions Swansea University students acting as activity leaders.

At the end of each session the different teams had a chance to present their idea to a panel of judges and their schoolmates in a lecture theatre.

Among the pioneering projects developed were for an anti-bullying bracelet using the same technology as a fitness tracker made from recycled materials and a way of using virtual reality to create training programmes for the military.

‌Bishop Vaughan’s Leader of Creative Technology Maria Morgan said: “This has given our pupils an unique opportunity. They not only get a chance see inside a university but also use technology and work together on their projects. They have all really enjoyed taking part.”

Head of Year 7 Kate Mainwaring added the 45 pupils who attended from her school may have had different abilities but were all equally engaged and enthusiastic.

One pupil who took part said: “It was fun merging our ideas together and working with people I don't normally talk to in school. It was good to learn new skills and listen to other people’s pitches too.”

Dell Workshop Group 2

Youngsters get set to present their idea for tackling playground bullying using a high-tech bracelet made from recycled materials.

David Evans, Cefn Saeson’s Director of Digital Learning, said: The workshop actually mirrored the new curriculum for Wales and the pupils came up with their own solutions to social issues with excellent support. I think my students’ aspirations were raised by visiting the university.”

The event was organised in association with the South West Wales Reaching Wider Partnership, which aims to increase participation in higher education by people from underrepresented groups and communities. 

The University’s Reaching Wider Partnership Manager Alice Davies said: “We work with schools in communities where the majority of people don’t go on to university so campus visit days and subject tasters are a really important part of what we do.  Events like these help pupils to imagine themselves as a future university student.  

“We’re very proud to be the first Welsh university to work with DELL and the Transformation Trust and delighted to be able to give pupils the opportunity to see the real life application of a subject while discovering skills they will need to develop to achieve future aspirations.”