Press release

Global LEGO robotics competition launches new ‘space themed’ challenge to young people

16 May 2018

  • School-aged teams can now register to take part in the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s FIRST® LEGO® League INTO ORBIT Competition
  • An extra 20 schools from disadvantaged areas will be able to take part thanks to new Headline Sponsor RS Components
  • For the fifth year running Bechtel continue as National Sponsor 

Nine to sixteen year olds from across the UK and Ireland have the opportunity to compete to become global engineering champions as the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) launches the new FIRST® LEGO® League INTO ORBIT 2018/19 season.

The season this year will welcome an additional 20 teams from disadvantaged areas to benefit from the science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) experience that they might not otherwise have access to. 

FIRST® LEGO® League INTO ORBIT is a global STEM challenge that tasks teams to solve real world problems with the help of a robot. Students will explore living in and traveling through space. They will have to demonstrate their skills in robotics, computer programming, teamwork, research, problem solving and communication, as well as needing to demonstrate the FIRST® LEGO® League core values, which include respect and friendly competition.

Schools across the UK can register for regional tournaments now via www.firstlegoleague.co.uk. They will have several months to work on the challenge before they compete in their chosen regional tournament. Teams can include up to ten students with an adult mentor.

David Lakin, IET Head of Education 5-19, said: “Students who take part in FIRST® LEGO® League this year will experience engineering in action. The programme brings enjoyment to STEM subjects as the students get hands-on experience with robotics, and designing innovative solutions – so it’s fantastic that even more schools will benefit this year via the additional support from RS Components.

“It’s a fact that the need for engineers has never been greater. The IET is involved in FIRST® LEGO® League, because it equips young people with the skills that they need to become future innovators and engineers. FIRST® LEGO® League is the world’s largest STEM competition with 35,000 teams in more than 90 countries and the IET are proud to be the operational partners for the programme in the UK and Ireland."

Lindsley Ruth, CEO of RS Components, added: “I am a strong advocate of encouraging young people into engineering and wholeheartedly support the work of the IET to inspire the next generation of engineers and technicians. It is really important to introduce engineering to children at a young age, showing them how exciting and creative the profession is.

“The FIRST® LEGO® League is an awesome initiative for young people and teaches them to work together through the challenges, developing key skills for their futures. Interesting and fun initiatives like this will undoubtedly inspire schoolchildren toward choosing STEM subjects and pursuing a career in engineering, helping to reduce the skills gap we have in the industry.”

The winners of the regional tournaments will go on to the FIRST® LEGO® League UK and Ireland Final, due to take place on 16th February 2019. The Final’s top teams will then go on to represent the UK and Ireland at international FIRST® LEGO® League events, including the FIRST® LEGO® League World Festival in April 2019. 

Media enquiries to:

Rebecca Gillick, Communications Executive

T: +44 (0)1438 765 618

M: +44 (0)7725 498 129

E: rgillick@theiet.org

Notes to editors:

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) is FIRST® LEGO® League UK and Ireland operational partner. Supporting the competition is part of the IET’s commitment to inspiring young people to consider careers within Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). For more information visit: www.firstlegoleague.co.uk.