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Tomorrow’s technology and innovation leaders compete at World FIRST Tech Challenge

Dinand Tinholt

Digital Innovation and #BringingToLifeWhatsNext are not just about helping our clients grasp the transformative potential of Digital. It is also about supporting the next generation of technology leaders. This can start close to home – or, as is the case for me, in my home. I have a daughter in high school who is a typical STEM-girl and is part of her school’s robotics team. After school, her team builds and programs robots that compete against other teams. This competition takes place in an alliance format – working together with other teams to achieve the best results.

Participating in these competitions is about much more than building robots. Technological skills have to be combined with building partnerships, conducting outreach, training other children and supporting other teams. These competitions are organized across the world by FIRST, a non-profit organization that aims to “encourage students to pursue education and careers in STEM-related fields, inspire them to become leaders and innovators, and enhance their 21 st century work-life skills.” This is very much a field that Capgemini Invent is active in, supporting many of our clients, including the European Commission, in the field of e-Skills for many years as well as promoting greater diversity in technology – both in our own organization and for our clients. The world needs many more people with STEM-skills. As EU Commissioner Navracsics stated, “people working in STEM occupations has grown by 12% – three times more than overall employment in the EU. STEM occupations now account for 7% of all jobs across the Unionand the demand for STEM competencies keeps growing.”

Last month, the world finals of the FIRST Tech Challenge took place in Detroit and Capgemini Invent demonstrated its commitment to digital skills and our future technology leaders by supporting a team of young Dutch students. This major technology competition brought together over 30,000 students from more than 70 countries and over 70,000 attendees from all over the world. The Capgemini Invent-sponsored team, “Pink to the Future,” consisted of 12 high school students and reached an impressive 27th place overall worldwide!

The competitions are exciting and fun to watch – almost like the Olympics of tech. Even more so, I found it inspiring to watch a team of young tech enthusiasts, to see them cooperating with other teams from across the world, and to see them transferring their knowledge to other students. It is watching our future technology leaders being formed today. Help shape such a future yourself, by supporting the EU’s Digital Skills & Jobs initiatives, by helping to bring coding to schools or simply by encouraging a young student to explore the possibilities that technology has to offer.