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Fujitsu team challenge gives BMet student innovators a healthy win

@BMetC students have proven to be first class innovators after creating healthy award-winning solutions to tackle a #Fujitsu regional team challenge.

Operation Innovation is a project-based learning programme delivered by leading technology company Fujitsu, who are at the cutting edge of tech innovation in Japan.

Talented Computer Science, Cyber security and IT scholars at the college excelled in the unique challenge – using artificial intelligence (AI) or robotics, to solve an existing issue in healthcare. Fujitsu’s cutting-edge technology also had to be incorporated into the task.

The BMet student technology enthusiasts so impressed the Fujitsu judging panel that Sutton Coldfield College were crowned overall winners and Matthew Boulton College gained third place.

This year, the leading global technology brand, collaborated with the West Midlands Combined Authority to deliver the project to students in the region. This gave the two BMet teams of four the opportunity to compete against students at FE institutions including Coventry, Sandwell, South and City and Walsall colleges.

The champion Sutton Coldfield College team created a “Personal Assistance Carer” for the elderly and vulnerable. This forward-thinking solution incorporated AI, robotics and human-like care into a single (semi-humanoid) device within the healthcare system.

High achieving students at Matthew Boulton College focused on “Open Mind Intervention”, using artificial intelligence – with a focus on covid-19/mental health and how it affects young people, the community at large and the impact on the future. They created an informative and interactive website to showcase this.

Sukhraj who is studying an extended diploma level 3 in Cyber Security and IT at Sutton Coldfield College said:

“I was so proud to be chosen as a team leader for this project and to be able to lead my team to victory.

“The experience has given me a glimpse of my developing capabilities in leadership and management positions. My career choice is to work within the technology sector, specifically cyber security. This is because I have an increasing desire to be part of the defence against increasing attacks.”

Dembo, who is studying an extended diploma level 3 in ICT and Web at Matthew Boulton College said: “What I particularly liked about being involved in this project is working with my team to collectively use our skills to think of a solution to deal with a real issue.

“Thanks to this project, I’ve been able to improve my skills in communication and social skills. I have also gained experience in programming, which will all help me in my future career.”

Over the course of four weeks, students were required to submit a proposal outlining their idea, the commercial benefits and theoretical support required from Fujitsu.

Fujitsu experts reviewed the proposals and put selected submissions forward to the final stage, “the Dragons Den”, whereby the chosen teams presented their ideas to a panel of expert judges.

The Fujitsu programme guided each group towards creating a completely new idea for a technology concept. This included first hand advice on how to pitch an idea in a business environment.

To be successful in the challenge, students needed to demonstrate:

  • A foundational understanding of robotics and AI
  • An understanding of the current challenges faced in education or healthcare
  • A consideration of commercial viability and logistics

The collaborative challenge also involved technological and business skills workshops.

Pat Carvalho, Chief Executive at BMet said:

“Taking part in such a forward thinking and innovative challenge was a fantastic opportunity for our students, who have been able to showcase their award-winning talents and abilities.

“We are so proud of what they have achieved and feel sure that their experiences will stand them in good stead for their courses and future careers.”

Representatives from Fujitsu came to BMet’s Sutton Coldfield College this week to present prizes to the winning groups. The third placed Matthew Boulton College team each received £100 vouchers and the overall winning Sutton Coldfield College team received a LIFEBOOK U729x laptops, plus an Innovation Hub for their college.

Invited guests to the special event also included Sutton Coldfield Council’s Town Mayor, Terry Wood, who assisted with the prize-giving.

All finalists were also awarded picnic hampers & certificate of achievements for their participation and outstanding work in Operation Innovation 2021. Alongside this, each winning college has been offered a Fujitsu Mentor, Presentation Skills Workshop and a Hiring Managers Workshop.

Ash Merchant, Education and Healthcare Director at Fujitsu said:

“The students from BMet excelled in a number of areas during Operation Innovation.

“However, their understanding of Fujitsu technology and how it could be applied to overcome the challenges in their chosen sector was outstanding – great to see learning and innovation going hand in hand. “

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