Skip to main content

Another Successful Year Supporting STEM Skills at Cheltenham Science Festival

Corporate Headquarters
Jul 2, 2024 | 3 MINUTE Read

June 2024 marked the fourth time L3Harris has sponsored Cheltenham Science Festival in the UK, this year returning to the event’s ‘Arcade’ tent with a highly interactive stand, engaging activities and an enthusiastic team of 15 volunteers. With a mix of local schools, colleges and university students attending throughout the week as well as being open to families and the general public during the weekend, the festival was host to more than 68,000 visitors, its Interactive Zones seeing foot traffic of over 28,000 people. The L3Harris stand was located in the festival’s Arcade tent, which welcomed a total of 9,015 attendees. 

The Activities

This year, the L3Harris stand offered visitors a combination of its popular ‘Crack the Code’ theme of previous years with activities selected for the educational workshops it ran at the festival in 2023. For younger attendees, an electronics circuit kit was available to challenge them to fix ‘broken’ circuits or build them from scratch. A 4-part cipher challenge tested decoding skills, with ciphers ranging from easy to impossible. Finally, willing participants were tasked with showing off their dexterity by picking up a marble using a controllable robot arm and dropping it into a marble run. 

All three activities were purposefully selected to demonstrate links to L3Harris capabilities. The electronic circuits gave a small insight into the extremely intricate electronics work undertaken across the business’ land electronic warfare capabilities such as BROADSHIELD and CORVUS. The ciphers were representative of L3Harris’ broad portfolio of CATAPAN encryption devices, and the robot arm provided a clear link to our T7 and T4 robotic systems

The T7 Proved A Star Attraction

A particularly large appeal of 2024’s stand was the appearance of Tewkesbury’s resident T7 robot. The T7’s best-in-class manipulation arm and impressive dexterity was demonstrated on select days throughout the festival by Robotics Support and Test Engineer, Aiden Gillespie, proving a big hit among keen festival attendees. 

“It was great to have the smaller robot arm available for people to have a go at operating alongside live demos of the T7’s capabilities – this really gave the stand a buzz and even meant visitors were queuing to take a look at both!” said Graeme Bates, Security Operations Coordinator and stand volunteer. “It was brilliant to have the T7 there, especially because the robot helped to generate more interest and excitement about what we do as a business in the local area.” 

Early Career Conversations at Festival Career Panel

In addition to 2024’s stand presence, Head of HR at L3Harris in Tewkesbury and Fleet, Lucy Forsyth offered her thoughts on the importance of STEM and its career opportunities at a Key Stage 4 Career Panel discussion during the week of the festival. Chaired by reporter and TikTok creator, Sophia Smith-Galer, this talk provided the chance to engage with students aged 14 - 16 about STEM skills and promote L3Harris’ early careers opportunities in the UK. 

Cheltenham Science Festival

“I was very privileged to represent L3Harris at Cheltenham Science Festival alongside Sophia, talking to our next generation about the many benefits of STEM-based careers,” said Lucy. L3Harris looks forward to continuing to inspire young people at future STEM events.