Rockwell Automation has extended its support of the global FIRST program to Australia and New Zealand.
The FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) program is expected to open up new opportunities in the region for school students aspiring to become engineers. In Australia, FIRST is co-ordinated by Professor Michael Heimlich of Macquarie University’s Faculty of Science.
Rockwell Automation’s sponsorship of the FIRST program within Australia and New Zealand builds on a 10-year association between the two organisations in the United States. Matthew Treeby, Commercial Marketing Manager, Rockwell Automation South Pacific explains that the FIRST organisation addresses the need for strong preparation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics to improve communities, create jobs and educate tomorrow’s workforce.
The three FIRST programmes, the FIRST Lego League, the FIRST Tech Challenge and the FIRST Robotic Challenge use robotics to teach the principles of real-world science and engineering to young people aged 9-18 years. Last year, approximately 300 teams consisting of 2,500 students from across Australia participated in the FIRST programs.
Professor Heimlich notes that Rockwell Automation is not only contributing towards operational funding but also providing mentors by connecting students to engineers in the community.
Rockwell Automation sponsors the FIRST Lego League and the FIRST Tech Challenge, and is the premier sponsor for the FIRST Robotics Challenge, which targets upper secondary school students. FIRST displayed one of their robots at the Rockwell Automation on the Move event in Sydney last year, giving visitors the opportunity to meet team members and gain an understanding of the capabilities of these incredibly talented students.
Treeby concludes by saying that Rockwell Automation’s involvement with FIRST demonstrates the company culture of innovation and is part of their ‘Engineering our Future’ program to promote science, engineering and technology to the next generation.