Sopra Steria challenges students to advance their knowledge of technology and use it to benefit society

girls designing pi project24 October 2016: Sopra Steria’s sustainability programme, which champions digital inclusion, recently took a challenge to Barnwood Park Arts College for Girls, Gloucestershire in partnership with Gloucestershire County Council, to whom Sopra Steria provides ICT services.

Over two days the Year 9 girls worked in teams with Sopra Steria’s volunteers to learn how to build and programme credit card-sized Raspberry Pi computers to perform different tasks. At the end of the first day, they were given a challenge: build a project that has a social benefit - for example, something that would enable vulnerable people to live independently.

presenting pi projectThe teams presented their projects at the end of the second day. They had, in a short space of time, designed and built computer projects ranging from alarms that would remind someone with memory problems to take their medication, to technology for a bracelet with GPS tracking to help carers find a lost relative. A panel of judges from Sopra Steria and Gloucestershire County Council awarded the prizes to the winning teams: a trip to the Wired Next Generation technology conference for young people in London in November.

Tracey Lee, Sopra Steria’s Head of Local Government, said, “Access to high-quality technology education for all students is important for the future employability of today’s young people, and for the health of the economy.  Girls in particular are still underrepresented in technology careers, and by encouraging them to develop confidence in their IT skills at an early age, Sopra Steria hopes to help change that.”

Ray Theodoulou, deputy leader at Gloucestershire County Council said, “We are delighted to be working with a technology partner that invests in our communities and educational institutions.”

large gorup working on pi challengeSimon Holland, Computer Science teacher at Barnwood Park Arts College for Girls said, “This initiative will help our students feel more confident in their computing skills in a fun and rewarding way, and, we hope, encourage more girls into a future career in the STEM subjects.”

Discover more about Sopra Steria's approach to Sustainability and our experience working with Gloucestershire County Council, including supporting GCC's initiative to refurbish and donate computers it no longer uses to benefit local people as part of a new project called e-Forwards.