Posted on 25 May 2011
The team from Farnham College are, from left, ICT head Rachel Connor and students Jack Chapman, Caroline Day, Lee Kitching and Jack Wheatley.
An innovative multi-touch surface computer made from recycled components will showcase the talent of Farnham Sixth Form College ICT students to the world when the UK hosts WorldSkills in London this year.
The project – inspired by the needs of the disabled sister of one of the students - was among those selected from hundreds of applications for international showcase status at the huge event in October and is one of only two mentioned in recent Worldskills London 2011 publicity material. With 150,000 global visitors expected, including some of the world’s most highly respected skills experts, Farnham College will help show the rest of the world that “Team UK” excels at skills.
The computer will showcase the skills students have learnt during 2011. Built on a tight budget using mainly recycled materials and open source software it features animations and computer games that visitors to the event will be able to try out. The computer has a giant touch screen enabling several people to use it at the same time, making it into a social experience. Students will host the showcase and discuss how they created it.
Although such computers are commercially available they are very rare and usually extremely expensive. The Farnham College project aims to prove that a computer that usually costs thousands of pounds can be built relatively cheaply. It was devised by AS level ICT student Jack Chapman, 18, of Camberley, who is working on it with BTEC IT student Jack Wheatley, 16, of Farnham. Jack Chapman said: “My disabled sister inspired me to create an ICT system that is usable by people who can’t use standard input devices. I believe everyone has a right to use ICT to enhance their lives.”
Both students were among the medallists in the regional heats of WorldSkills held at Nescot College in Ewell, winning the silver medal in the Microsoft Technician’s challenge. Two other BTEC students from the College, Caroline Day and Lee Kitching, both aged 17 and from Aldershot, competed in the Microsoft Applications challenge with Lee scooping the gold medal. The medallists may go on to be selected to compete at the national finals in June.
Farnham College’s Head of ICT Rachel Connor said: “You read a lot in the press about ICT qualifications not having much value but this proves that they do. The students are going beyond the requirements of their courses, working in their own time because of their passion for the subject.”
Fred Carter, Director of the College, said: “The last time a WorldSkills competition was held in the UK was over two decades ago – this really is a once in a generation opportunity for our students and we’re delighted that the excellent standards they achieve will be recognised by such a prestigious national and international audience.”
The WorldSkills London 2011 Competition will take place from 5 October over four days and is one of the biggest events ever to be held at ExCeL London. Over 1,000 young people from all over the world will battle it out in 46 different skills to be crowned the best in their chosen skill. For more information on the event, please visit www.worldskillslondon2011.co.uk