MerseySTEM Robotics Challenge: St Helens – Rainford High Victorious!
October 23rd 2015

MerseySTEM Robotics Challenge: St Helens – Rainford High Victorious!

On the 22nd of October MerseySTEM hosted the St Helens heat of their (now famous) Robotics Challenge. Six schools from the local area built their bots and battled it out at St Helens College; The Sutton Academy, Hope Academy, De La Salle School, Rainford High Technology College, Rainhill High School & Cowley International College.

After a day of pulverized processors, ruptured relays, severed struts and mangled motors, it was Rainford High Technology College who reigned supreme and earned their place in the Grand Final. Congratulations to them! 


MerseySTEM in conjunction with Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)  and Vex Robotics held the fourth of eight Robotic Challenge heats. The St Helens heat was sponsored by NGF Europe, who also provided real-life process development engineers to assist on the day. Further heats are available for schools in the Merseyside area.


Each challenge sees teams of students from local schools take part in a full-day event, building their robots in the morning and pitting them against each other in the afternoon in a series of matches. The winning team progresses to the Liverpool City Region Grand Final competing against schools from across the Merseyside region. All teams are supported by MerseySTEM, local professionals and STEM Ambassadors to help build their machine.

Team Rainhill

MerseySTEM Managing Director Michelle Dow said, “I love our Robot Challenges, it’s great that we don’t see our competitors faces for most of the morning as they are heads down, focused on building the best robot on the day. Questions come thick and fast: What do I do with this? How does this work? Can this be my own design? If you ask a 14 year old what advanced manufacturing or engineering is, usually the answer is ‘Er dunno – a mechanic?”


“The robot day gives us the opportunity to change perceptions, challenge stereotypes, promote teamwork and provide careers advice to students using real role-models from our city. Robot Wars are nothing new, but whatever you say – robots are cool!”

cowley runners up

“It was a fantastic competition today. The students were engaged and the final between Rainford and Cowley was just too close to call. Congratulations to both of our finalists and all of our attending schools.”

rainford winners

One student from Rainhill High School said it all, “Miss, I thought robots would be boring, they’re really fun!”

team hope academy

The MerseySTEM Robotics Challenges enable students to understand a variety of design, science and engineering principles and develop leadership and problem solving skills. The events aim to inspire and excite students’ interest in robotics & to demonstrate the practical application of mathematics and engineering.

Simon Reid, Sector Manager for Advanced Manufacturing, Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) said: “As the City Region’s economy continues to improve, more companies are facing a shortage of skilled workers, especially in Advanced Manufacturing. Now more than ever our future depends on a workforce with the necessary talents and training for the jobs of today and tomorrow, and the best way to ensure a steady supply of workers is through education.  That is why initiatives such as the Robotics Challenge are so important; they provide an opportunity for our young people to really engage with the possibility of working in this sector and hopefully encourage them that Advanced Manufacturing is an exciting and rewarding career.”

The winning school from each heat receives a ‘VEX Competition Lab Kit’ worth over £750, as well as support from VEX Robotics with the opportunity to enter a further competition that culminates in a Grand Final at Big Bang North West 2016!

Winners also go through to the Liverpool City Region Grand Final to compete against the other heat’s champions later in the Winter term!

Missed out on our Robotics Challenge?
Merseyside schools can still enter our open heats!

MerseySTEM: “Providing exciting educational experiences for young people”

Relive the event on Twitter here…
MerseySTEM Robotics Challenge in pictures



Follow MerseySTEM on Twitter here
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Selena Ledgerton Selena Ledgerton
Selena Ledgerton Web, Media & Marketing Manager e: [email protected]