The challenge

In teams supported by a mentor FIRST Tech Challenge participants learn to think, operate and collaborate like innovators – designing robots to compete in tournaments.

Taking part

Meeting weekly for a couple of hours in school or as an after-school club, teams of up to 15 young people aged 12 to 18 years design, build and programme a robot to take on a global challenge with support from a mentor. In so doing they:

  • develop technical knowledge and core life skills
  • collaborate with other young people
  • engage with employers, further and higher education
  • build understanding of education and career pathways
  • compete for team awards and earn individual accreditation
  • become well rounded citizens empowered to own their future


Teams compete in local, regional and national events bidding to represent the UK in the global championships.

“The programme itself is adding so much. You can’t teach what they’ve been learning over the last year. You can try to teach them project management, system lifecycles and engineering from a textbook – it just doesn’t work. What they’re experiencing working as a team right now? It’s superb.”

David, Assistant Principal, Sawtry Village Academy

Get involved!

Registration for the September 2020 season opens in the spring. In the meantime you can get close to the action by visiting or volunteering at our robotics championship in London’s Olympic Park.

Find out more

Developing tomorrow’s innovators

Learning resources and content co-created by young people, educators and industry power teams to success.


FIRST Tech Challenge maps to key curriculum points at KS3 and KS4 and can be delivered in the classroom or as an extracurricular activity. An online education platform provides access to structured content, training modules and collaboration tools.

Find out more

Life skills

Using the same methodologies as industry teams – young people become proficient in the softer skills needed in the workplace whilst building confidence and resilience. All participants automatically receive Gold Award Industrial Cadet accreditation.

Learn about accreditation


FIRST Tech Challenge is co-created and delivered in partnership with industry, building awareness of career pathways and empowering organisations to achieve the Gatsby Benchmarks and other recognised progress measures.

Read the Gatsby Report


FIRST Tech Challenge is open to Department for Education registered schools (state, academy, and fee-paying), SEND, Alternative Providers and nationally recognised youth and community groups. Kit bursaries and grants to help with travel and supply teacher cover are available.

Access financial support

The 2019 game

In partnership with Disney’s philanthropic initiative, Star Wars: Force for Change, this year’s theme is ‘FIRST RISE: The Force is Building’, tasking teams to innovate in the built environment. The FIRST Tech Challenge game, SKYSTONE, challenges teams to build a sustainable city that’s out of this world.

  • 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.