More than a challenge

Every young person deserves the chance to go pro in STEM.

Where STEM meets sport

Meeting weekly, teams of up to 15 young people, aged 12-18, design a robot to take on a global challenge. Supported by a mentor, they develop technical knowledge like coding, learn about engineering and design principles, whilst building soft skills.

Each team operates like a business – creating a brand and delivering community outreach – before uniting to compete in tournaments and earn awards.

Our e-learning platform, virtual online simulator and curriculum-mapped content provides end to end support.

Explore our provision

“I witnessed how a competition that has a primary focus of STEM, does so much more than that. It develops creativity, teamwork, confidence, resilience, inclusivity, humility and so much more. What a great programme! If you’re not involved you’re missing out!”

Ben Barnes, Director of Computer Science – Outwood Grange Academies Trust

Jump straight in this Autumn

Our timeline is flipping back to an Autumn start! Our UK season launches after October half term and concludes in late Spring, with some teams advancing to a national championship in the Summer. You can kick-start your team’s momentum earlier at a local Scrimmage meet-up Dec-Jan and keep building up to the regional tournaments March-April.

Preview timeline

The global game

An annual game theme is revealed every September. This year’s game, POWERPLAY presented by Raytheon Technologies, challenges teams to crank up their innovative ideas in an energy-driven game.

Start local, go national

Build up your team’s confidence at a local Scrimmage meet-up, then put their game play to the test at the regional tournaments in Spring. All teams will be judged for regional awards. Successful teams will advance to our national champs in the Summer, competing to be crowned UK winners.

Sessions

Oct 2022 – Mar 2023

Design, build and programme your robot as a team, plus practice at a local scrimmage.

Tournaments

Mar-Apr 2023

Compete at a local tournament, honing your game skills and showcasing your team for awards.

Nationals

TBC Jun-Jul 2023

If selected, compete with the most advanced teams at the national championship.

Awarding more than robots

Teams pitch their strategic approach to an industry judging panel in a bid to earn awards that recognise engineering development, creativity, community outreach and collaboration.

Judges Award


Essentially the Judge’s Choice award, this accolade goes to a team that stood out to the panel of judges for their unique efforts, performance or dynamics, however didn’t quite fit the criteria for any other big award.

Control Award sponsored by Arm


“Mastering Robot intelligence”. This award is given to the team that has been very clever with their programming and has shown innovative thinking in the control system to solve game challenges.

Motivate Award


“Sparking others to embrace the culture of FIRST”. This award celebrates a team that represents the essence of FIRST Tech Challenge through team building, team spirit, enthusiasm, and by encouraging those around them to get involved with the challenge.

Design Award


“Industrial design at its best.” This award goes to a team with a robot that functions well, and looks great too. The innovative design does not compromise the practical operation of the robot, but complements its purpose.

Innovate Award sponsored by Raytheon Technologies


“Bringing great ideas from concept to reality.” This award celebrates a team that thinks outside the box, and has the ingenuity and inventiveness to make their designs come to life.

Connect Award


“Connecting the dots between community, FIRST and the diversity of the engineering world.” This team has helped the community understand FIRST, the FIRST Tech Challenge, and the team itself, and has recognised that engaging their local STEM community plays an essential part in their success.

Think Award


“Removing engineering obstacles through creative thinking.” This award recognises a team with an amazing engineering section in their Engineering Notebook. The team has carefully noted the journey they have taken throughout the engineering design process during the build season.

Inspire Award


This award is the big one – the team that wins has really earned their place at the global championships in the US. They have embodied the ‘challenge’ of the FIRST Tech Challenge programme, are a top contender for many other judged awards, and are all-round gracious competitors.

“The project was an exceptional team-building experience, which brought together the enthusiasm and knowledge of each team member. To actually win the competition was phenomenal!”

Sam, 15, CREATED Academy

“Never give up. We created three claws in three weeks, coming in on Saturdays and after school to make sure we completed the robot before the regional competition.”

Oussama, 14 yrs, Fulham College Boys School

Build more than robots

Take part in the UK’s most epic STEM programme for young people and empower the next generation to take on tomorrow’s challenges.

Register interest for 2023-24

  • We build More Than Robots

    We use robots, role models and competitions to make STEM less intimidating, more diverse and inclusive, empowering young people to make informed choices about their future.