Who we are

We’re More Than Robots – we’re a global movement of educators and influencers determined to equip the next generation with the technical knowhow and life skills to transform our future.

Our story

In 2014, FIRST UK’s founder Vikrant attended an event which was to have a marked impact upon his perception of how young people engage with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths (STEM) – and the potential of robotics to transform young lives.

That event was FIRST® Championships – a gathering of 60,000 young people competing in alliances with robots – applying STEM solutions to tackle real-world challenges.

Captivated by the infectious enthusiasm and technical brilliance of these young innovators, and with three children of his own, Vikrant became determined to bring the FIRST ethos to the UK – translating the benefits of mentor-based robotics learning and making it accessible to all.

Help us be More Than Robots

“We need to empower young people today to take on the challenges of tomorrow – to prepare them for jobs which haven’t been invented yet.”

Vikrant, FIRST UK

Amy

Amy

The Optimist
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Amy is our resident matchmaker. As Programme Manager (Partnerships) she’s focused on finding the right friends to collaborate with in order to amplify impact for the young people we serve. Amy works with corporate partners to maximise effective employee engagement, whether that’s regular mentoring, ad hoc volunteering opportunities through to leadership and team building days. Prior to joining us at FIRST UK, she used her relationship-building and analysis skills to execute events at firms in Vancouver and Toronto. With a shift in focus, she’s now working to identify opportunities for leveraging income, people, and resources to achieve our mission sooner. Since it’s always easier to make friends with food, Amy’s experience as a trained pastry chef will be a critical on the job asset.

Becca

Becca

The Magician
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Becca is our organising queen, obsessed with creating the spectacular. Her bread and butter is coordinating all things events, making sure everything runs like magic and we live up to our name as the UK’s most epic STEM programme (as voted by robots). When she’s not building phenomenal event experiences that inspire young people, she’s studying for her BA Hons Events Management at Bournemouth University and occasionally steps in as a rockstar babysitter for her nephew. Becca has joined us during her placement year, raring to put her university knowledge and Event Assistant experience into practice.

Ed

Ed

The Disruptor
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Ed’s ideas (not always good ones), agility and boundless energy drive the charity forward at pace. Frustrated by standing still he is constantly asking ‘will it make the boat go faster’ – no one really understands why (rumour suggests it’s a book he got one Christmas and hasn’t actually read but cites when out of ideas). Ed describes the mission as ‘making the charity go out of business’ – a world where every young person is equipped with the technical knowledge and life skills to own their futures. In the meantime, he’s focused on defining the pathway to impact and securing sustainable investment and critical friendships to get there fast. Previously Ed led innovation at Cancer Research UK devising award-winning fundraising products, disrupting funding models and driving strategic growth. He also spent several years globe-trotting whilst helping build an adventure tour operator into a sector-leading SME. His passions include his partner Katherine, their two young boys Zeb and Oz, travel, and anything to do with the water, outdoors or food.

Francis

Francis

The Operative
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Francis is our man of action. As part of the Operations team, he feels right at home making our product, logistics and volunteering sides run like a well-oiled machine, doing his part to deliver a smooth event experience. He calls himself a ‘techie in mind, creative at heart’; despite a STEM education recently gaining his BEng in Mechanical Engineering and due to start his MSc at Leeds University, he has also led creative societies and events in his free time. His background definitely gives him a leg up to make our mission a reality.

Isla

Isla

The Elevator
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Isla is our red-haired firecracker, passionate fundraiser and mother of one scientist-of-the-future. As Director of Development, Isla’s a lean machine at lifting our strategic ambitions and is determined to achieve investment that enables a diverse and inclusive generation of young people – equipped with everything they need to take on tomorrow’s challenges. Before joining us at FIRST UK, Isla spent 16 years raising funds for capital, operational and research healthcare projects in the UK and internationally. Her proudest moment was being part of the team that raised funds to build the UK’s largest and leading eye hospital for children. She also raised funds to build and equip the largest eye hospital in the West Bank, Palestine, and established a stem cell research programme to cure age-related blindness at a leading London University. And if that’s not impressive enough she also planned a multimillion pound campaign for a new children’s hospital in London. Wowzer! When she isn’t saving the world, Isla is forced to watch Peter Rabbit, Paw Patrol and Big Hero 6 (the latter she actually likes). Fist bump.

Martin

Martin

The Ambassador
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Martin is our man on the ground. As regional Development Lead he focuses on developing relationships with schools, industry and local partners to execute the vision of FIRST® UK in the communities we serve. An engineer by trade with over 24 years’ experience teaching at all levels, Martin is key to developing our mentor and volunteer pipeline. With a BEd(Hons) in Secondary Education from Manchester Metropolitan University, specialising in Design and Technology, Martin served as Head of Faculty for Science and Technology – invaluable knowledge of the classroom which he now deploys to refine FIRST® UK’s educational offering through developing curriculum aligned resources and accreditation for teachers.

Michael

Michael

The Advocate
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Michael as our Programme Manager (Schools) spends his days ensuring our schools and teams have the best journey possible. Before joining the team, he worked at the University of Sheffield, coordinating science programs for schools and young people. An advocate for engaging tomorrow’s leaders, he’s worked with schools, universities, and international science museums. Despite already having a BA in Knowledge Integration, he’s currently completing an MSc in Science Communication and Public Engagement at the University of Edinburgh. With a penchant for experimentation, you’ll likely find him in the thick of things at any FIRST UK event, sharing his enthusiasm for STEM. Out of season, you’ll most likely find him code-breaking his way out of an escape room.

Muktar

Muktar

The Product Guy
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As Chief Operating Officer, Muktar is living out his dream job here at FIRST UK. A teacher and former Director of Robotics at the American School in London, he’s responsible for our day-to-day operations. With a decade of experience engaging young people with STEM, his secondary role could be dubbed ‘Master of Robots’. As a young student, he was offered the opportunity to participate in FIRST programmes – an experience which he cites as the driving force behind his decision to study Architectural Technology at Westminster University. Muktar has mentored hundreds of young people over the years and is now translating his experience into inspiring the next generation of science and technology innovators.

Patrice

Patrice

The Storyteller
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Patrice owns all things comms, brand, and marketing (what you’d hope from the Comms and Marketing Manager) here at FIRST UK. Operating across all channels and events, she builds a narrative that resonates with our audiences, making sure that everyone feels part of an epic experience. A Graphic and Media Designer from the University of the Arts London, Patrice honed her craft delivering consumer marketing campaigns and games with digital and creative agencies. While the head of comms programmes at Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s Open Data Institute, she developed influencer strategies for public sector agencies. When she’s not working, you can find her binge-watching documentaries, dad dancing, rallying causes for diversity and inclusion, or presenting to young people and grown ups about opportunities in STEM and comms.

Shannon

Shannon

The Orchestrator
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In her role as Programme Manager (People and Systems), Shannon oversees our programme delivery and constructs the critical parts underneath the FIRST UK bonnet, ensuring teams, mentors and volunteers receive supported customer journeys. Before joining the charity, Shannon coordinated career development in an American university, and acted as Assistant Director of a volunteer programme for young people. With an MSc in Latin American Development from King’s College London, and a BA in Communication from Cabrini University, Shannon can make anything possible from every time zone with her stealth systematic skills.

Vikrant

Vikrant

The Founder
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Vikrant’s passion for STEM trace back to his time as an undergraduate studying engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology. The technical knowledge, relationships and life-skills he developed at the IIT served him well as a young entrepreneur in the dot com boom of early 2000’s. Recognising the impact technology and a technical education had on his own journey, he’s now determined to ensure every young person can unlock opportunities through STEM – and he’s established FIRST® UK to do just that.

  • We build More Than Robots

    We invest in the young people who will invent the future. We’re a tech charity using robots, role models and competitions to equip young people with the technical know-how and soft skills to thrive.