Jun 21, 2005

Audience to be Spellbound at Seagate Young Innovators

Over 600 talented primary and secondary schoolchildren will descend on the Odyssey Arena on Thursday 23rd June for Seagate Young Innovators - the largest annual showcase of science, engineering and technology projects for young people in the United Kingdom.

The event is a partnership between Seagate Technology, the worldwide leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of hard disc drives, and Sentinus, one of the largest providers of business education activity in Europe.

Now in its seventh year, the admission-free event commences at 10:00 a.m. with fifty primary school teams participating in live design-and-build challenges as part of the Junior Engineers for Britain and Primary Science and Technology Challenges. There will also be more than 150 projects on display from primary and secondary school pupils competing for the titles in the various sections of Junior Industry Challenge, Special Schools Challenge, Northern Ireland Young Scientist, and Young Engineers for Britain competitions.

TV personality Frank Mitchell will be Master of Ceremonies at the 3:00 p.m. Awards Ceremony, when participants will be eager to see if they have won one of the array of prizes on offer-some of which involve trips to national and international science fairs.

Fifty Primary Schools have qualified to compete in the finals of the Primary Science & Technology Challenge and Junior Engineers for Britain at Seagate Young Innovators, having overcome intense competition from hundreds of other schools that participated in the regional heats. Entries have also been received from 14 schools for the Junior Industry Challenge and from ten schools for the Special Schools Challenge - sections that require no qualifying heats - where schools dedicate months of project work within the classroom to get the opportunity to exhibit their projects and compete at the Odyssey event.

Another fifty secondary and grammar schools have entered Seagate Young Innovators to compete for the titles of Northern Ireland Young Scientist, and Young Engineer for Britain. Special award winners in these categories will get the opportunity to compete in other science fairs across the globe as part of their prize.

Keen to develop and nurture the students' interest in science, technology and engineering, Brian Burns, plant manager at Seagate's Limavady facility, said: "We're delighted to be helping the next generation of young innovators get excited about science, engineering and technology. We recognise the importance of encouraging new talent into our sector and believe that enthusiasm for these fields starts in the classroom. Early encouragement is vital if Northern Ireland is to develop and maintain a competitive edge in the knowledge-based economy."

Looking forward to the festival of bright ideas, Brian Campbell of Sentinus, the competition organisers, said: "Each year we seem to set new records in the number of entries, and in terms of quality, I'm looking forward to being bowled over by the ideas the children come up with. Clearly we're in for an amazing day at the Odyssey as the young people put their entries on show and to the test."

Seagate is the worldwide leader in the design, manufacturing and marketing of hard disc drives, providing products for a wide-range of Enterprise, Desktop, Mobile Computing, and Consumer Electronics applications. Seagate's business model leverages technology leadership and world-class manufacturing to deliver industry-leading innovation and quality to its global customers, and to be the low cost producer in all markets in which it participates. The company is committed to providing award-winning products, customer support and reliability to meet the world's growing demand for information storage. Seagate can be found around the globe and at www.seagate.com.

Seagate has two facilities in Northern Ireland, employing over 1,800 people between them. At the Springtown wafer fabrication facility, the company develops and manufactures the recording heads, which write information onto and read information from the recording disc inside a computer's hard drive. The company's Limavady facility produces nickel-plated aluminium substrates, the core material on which computer hard disc drives read, write and store digital information.

Seagate, Seagate Technology and the Wave logo are U.S. registered trademarks of Seagate Technology LLC.

Sentinus is a not for profit organisation and is one of the largest providers of business/education activity in the United Kingdom. Through the establishment of partnerships between education and industry, the organisation creates an awareness of the exciting opportunities available to young people in science, engineering and technology and assists their development in readiness for the world of work.

As part of a national network of SETPOINTs Sentinus has a strong focus on young people, from 5 to 19 years old, enhancing their life skills through challenging and exciting experiences with an industrial focus.

Sentinus initiatives promote innovation and creativity in science, technology and engineering and give pupils from our schools the opportunity to work with other people, gain real experience of practical problem solving, develop communication skills and make informed career decisions.

The work of Sentinus is supported by many companies and organisations throughout Northern Ireland, providing vital opportunities for young people, nurturing the workforce of tomorrow and making a real impact on society.

Further information can be obtained from Sentinus on Belfast (028) 9262 7755.