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Crawley College unveils plans for state-of-the-art new STEM facility

Crawley College has revealed the exciting first stage in the development of its campus.

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The college, which is part of the Chichester College Group (CCG), has unveiled plans to build a multi-million pound facility on the site, at College Road in Crawley, which will put the college at the cutting edge of training delivery in a whole range of subjects.

The new building will be home to a suite of modern teaching and interactive spaces, which will be used to integrate the use of technology and STEM (science, technology, engineering & maths) in to all subjects taught across Crawley College.

Shelagh Legrave OBE, Chief Executive of CCG, said:

“We are very excited to be able to share our plans for the new STEM facility here at Crawley College.

“Working with employers, the council and the community, we recognise how important it is to invest in STEM and this new facility will give the college a specialist building to train students in advanced technologies, in turn ensuring that local people are able to fill local jobs in these industries.

“This is part of our long-term commitment to Crawley College and investing in the modernisation of our facilities for the benefit of young people in the local area.

“This will also be a centre that will be accessible to local schools, employers and the wider community – it will be a STEM centre that is not just for Crawley College, but for Crawley.”

The facility, which has received funding from the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership, will house cutting edge technology, including virtual and mixed reality technology.

West Sussex-based contractors W Stirland Ltd will be managing the project, which was approved at Crawley Borough Council’s planning meeting on Monday 18 November.

Shaun Stirland, Managing Director at W Stirland, said:

“We are really pleased to be working with the Chichester College Group on this exciting new development.”

Julie Kapsalis, Managing Director at CCG, added:

“We are aiming to address skills shortages in the engineering, construction and IT industries, providing high quality, employer-led training in industry-standard facilities.

“This in turn will help to drive career aspirations, enabling young people to gain the support and training they need to take advantage of the opportunities that exist in these industries.

“The new STEM facility will enhance the way we teach and introduce a whole new way of learning, which is more interactive, creative and engaging and will enable us to develop new courses to train the future workforce in a wide range of specialisms.

“This centre will also integrate STEM technology into all subjects, providing a different approach to teaching and training.”

Building work is due to begin in January 2020, and the building is set to open to students in January 2021.

Education

Crawley student crowned winner of national STEM competition

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A student from St Wilfrid’s Catholic Comprehensive School has been named winner in the Senior category of the Youth Industrial Strategy Competition, a national science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) initiative, supported by UK Research and Innovation, aimed at finding solutions to the greatest challenges facing modern society.

Claiming first prize, year 13 student, Rushil Patel, presented a project that uses offline artificial intelligence to accurately process a specific object or event in the world around the user, conveying limitless information in the most discrete way possible. Addressing the Grand Challenge of Artificial Intelligence and Data, the young inventor hopes it can help people with Autism not only identify, but also respond to perceived emotions.

Judged remotely by a panel of STEM experts, including representatives from Network Rail; AI architects, Arm; and Manchester Metropolitan University, Rushil was awarded first place thanks to his creativity and innovative way of addressing the Industrial Strategy’s Grand Challenge of Artificial Intelligence and Data.

Rushil, student at St Wilfrid’s Catholic Comprehensive School said:

“I am thrilled to have won the Senior category at the Youth Industrial Strategy competition. I really enjoyed working on our project and it was great to have the judges recognise the hard work and creativity that went into it.

“This competition has provided me with a great opportunity to get creative with my learning and it was incredibly rewarding to work on a project that could help solve one of the most pressing social issues today.”

With the live finals event cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak, the competition organisers, the British Science Association and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) asked schools to create videos of students presenting their finished projects and the information they’d been planning to share with judges.

Rushil and his teachers have worked incredibly hard to help enable the remote judging, especially at such a challenging time for schools and families across the UK and deserve special credit for their efforts.

Tom Saunders, Head of Public Engagement at UKRI, said:

“As this AI communications device shows, today’s students have an important part to play in addressing society’s biggest challenges. I would like to congratulate Rushil on his fantastic winning project and wish all the finalists every continued success in the future.”

Caitlin Brown, Project Manager for the Youth Industrial Strategy Competition, said:

“The judges commended Rushil for his hard work, dedication and commitment to STEM. He thoroughly deserves to be crowned our Youth Industrial Strategy Competition Senior winner.

“We are thrilled with the level of engagement and interest we have received around the Youth Industrial Strategy Competition, and are excited to see all these students, and more, continue to develop their love of STEM.”

The winners and runners up were selected from thousands of students, aged between 11-19 years, from across the UK, who designed projects responding to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s four Grand Challenges: the Future of Mobility, Ageing Society, Clean Growth and Artificial Intelligence and Data.

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