Somercotes Academy, 2023 Winners

Year 9 students will be tasked with building an automatic sorting machine for robotic production lines in the STEM Challenge

Lincolnshire Institute of Technology (LIoT) will be running its Year 9 STEM Challenge for the second year in 2024, this time with a particular focus on automation and recycling.

The initiative focuses on raising aspirations and encouraging young people to consider higher education and career opportunities within the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) industries.

Students will be required to design, prototype and build an automated process for sorting different sized cylinders, ensuring that they are aligned correctly to enable robotic arms to pick up the parts correctly.


The challenge will be delivered in partnership with Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Careers Hub, the STEM Ambassador Network, Quickline, Nuclear Waste Services and the Lincolnshire County Council SEND team.

Mick Lochran, Director at Lincolnshire Institute of Technology, said:

“Last year was a fantastic start to our annual regional school challenge. We were absolutely delighted with the number of schools that participated in 2023, and have hopes for this year to be even bigger!

“It’s a great way for the University of Lincoln and colleges across Greater Lincolnshire  to engage with younger students and teach them more about what it’s like to study and work in the STEM industry.

“There are so many amazing career opportunities in Greater Lincolnshire and it’s really important that students can meet employers, as well as learning more about what apprenticeships and higher education opportunities are available to them on their doorstep.

“If you’re a parent, student or teacher reading this and you think it may be something you’ll benefit from, then why not contact your school today? The more the merrier!”

Secondary schools across Lincolnshire have until 16th February to register, with the challenge being live from March through to the final in July. The final will be held at Lincolnshire Showground, with schools, employers and many other stakeholders in attendance.

LIoT ran its first STEM Challenge in 2023, with students from 19 secondary schools across Lincolnshire taking part in designing, building and testing recyclable windmills that could generate power.

Winners included Somercotes Academy (first place), Kesteven & Grantham Girls School (second place) and Ambergate Sports College and Boston Grammar School (joint third place).

Lincolnshire Institute of Technology (LIoT) is a partnership local STEM employers and education providers including University of Lincoln, Grimsby Institute and University Centre, University Campus North Lincolnshire and North Lindsey College, Lincoln College, Grantham College & University Centre, Boston College, Riseholme College and Lincoln UTC.

LIoT has a focus on higher level skills, with students studying in subjects such as manufacturing, engineering, construction, digital, agritech and more. The organisation also works with over 3000 employers across Lincolnshire, particularly supported by Bakkavor, Siemens and OAL.