The children secured their places in Shanghai after scoring high at a WER competition held at Sheffield University in July, where they competed against 50 UK children and 50 of the best robotics students on a visit from China to build a robot and programme it to complete certain tasks.

Image: Ben Morgan, head of Factory 2050's Integrated Manufacturing Group, with the robotics competition finalists

The University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) is sponsoring the team to make the dream trip possible, but the parents still require additional financial support to help make the trip a success for all the families (insert contact details).

The children –Alex O’Carroll, Allen Yang, Sofia Armitage, all seven-years-old, and Jacob Sibanda, 12, and Kirin Harrington, 11, - were given the good news recently during a special visit to the AMRC’s flagship Factory 2050 facility, home to the Integrated Manufacturing Group.

Ben Morgan, head of IMG, welcomed the children to the factory, telling them how they are the ‘engineers of the future’ and their interest in robotics is inspirational.

He said the AMRC has been following their story closely and wanted to help them with their quest to reach Shanghai. “You will be ambassadors in China for the Sheffield City Region, spreading the word that this is the place to come for engineering and industrial digital technology. We’re delighted to be able to sponsor such a talented team of young people from the region’s schools, and to show the world that engineering and our region have very bright futures, if we work together.

“The team at the AMRC and the University of Sheffield – and I think the whole of Sheffield and Yorkshire – wish you well and all the best in the competition and we’re sure you will have fun. We are doing our bit to help make that happen, it would fabulous if others could show their support too.”

The teams, brought together by the Discovery STEM Education organisation based at Kelham Island in Sheffield, will now pit their wits against some of the world’s brightest young minds as more than 500,000 four to 18-year-olds from 69 countries gather to compete at the robot engineering and coding contest.

Says Dr Melissa Butt from Discovery, which runs after-school clubs, holiday workshops and other activities in a bid to get more children interested in science, technology, engineering and maths, and nurture their talent, said: “Alex, Sofia, Allen, Jacob and Kirin were amongst the 50 UK children competing alongside 50 of the highest achieving Chinese children at Sheffield University in the first UK World Educational Robotic Contest in the summer of 2018.

“This will be the first time that the UK has been represented in this industry related robot engineering and coding contest. The finalists worked incredibly hard at training sessions leading up to the UK contest and are now working hard preparing for the finals at their weekly training sessions.

“The AMRC and Rolls-Royce are committed to supporting the next generation of STEM professionals. The AMRC has also provided a hugely exciting opportunity for the teams to glimpse the future of robotics in UK industry.

“Without the generous sponsorship, our bright young UK finalists would not have been able to compete at the world WER contest final in Shanghai. We’re extremely grateful to them for making this dream come true.”