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Innovation with Robotics

Question:How do we work together to equip youth with the right skills for the future economy?
on 08/17/2016







FIRST Robotics Canada (a non-profit organization) is also currently working diligently and tirelessly to support and prepare the next generation to be innovators and thought-leaders of the future. Through FIRST programs and initiatives, students are becoming more skilled and prepared to face the challenges of the future. With a stronger connection and increased support, FIRST could play an even greater role in preparing the next generation to make Canada great.

“Canada needs a bold, coordinated strategy on innovation that delivers results for all Canadians. We need to move forward with fresh ideas and a joint action plan that will make innovation a national priority and put Canada on a firm path to long-term economic growth.” –The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

We at FIRST whole-heartedly agree with Minister Bains approach to innovation. We currently see a talent pool of kids and students who, if given the opportunity and know-how, will inherently approach problem solving with an innovative approach. Currently, youth are not widely given that opportunity which results in a lack of a prepared and innovative leaders and workforce.

This is where FIRST Robotics Canada programs make a difference. FIRST programs teach kids and youth the necessary skills and strategy that inspire fresh ideas, innovation, and creative problem solving. If more students are exposed to, and participate in, FIRST programs, they will cultivate the skills and habits for the future that lead to unlimited potential and opportunities. These are the leaders who will help put Canada on the firm path to economic growth and sustainability.

With increased support for FIRST programs, the benefits include:

  • More student participation in FIRST programs, resulting in more students prepared for a future where creative problem solving is critical
  • Cultivating a future workforce of leaders who believe in teamwork, encourage diversity, and inspire creativity 
  • Developing and teaching students the skills and know-how to embrace challenges with an innovative mindset
  • Showcasing and proving that we’re surrounded by talent who will have the competencies to compete in a digital world, lead global partnerships and change, encourage entrepreneurship, and accelerate growth in Canadian business
  • Increased collaboration between organizations and corporations involved in FIRST and kids and youth across Canada

This kind of program truly makes a difference in cultivating the leaders and innovators of the future.

Credit: FIRST Robotics Canada

Comments »

Shawn Lim by Shawn Lim

FIRST Robotics is by far one of the best programs for developing entrepreneurial and creative spirit. I participated in FIRST Robotics in high school, and launched a start-up with two team members after. We developed software and infrastructure for collecting data from smart-meters, and were actively involved in furthering the Province of Ontario's Smart Metering Initiative. The biggest reason why we possessed the entrepreneurial and creative spirit to take on this challenge was due to our involvement in FIRST Robotics. This program has a profound impact on its participants, but we need to work together in partnership with the Federal government to support its growth. Canada would produce more, better prepared, and creative entrepreneurs if every student in the nation had access to a FIRST Robotics team. This would be a great goal for FIRST Robotics Canada and the Federal government to work towards, and would equip our youth with the right skills for the future economy.

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by Anonymous

Absolutely a program that makes a difference. The benefits of this program will travel with these talented students into adulthood and prepare our country with talented leaders.

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Jaeleen Koscielski by Jaeleen Koscielski

FIRST has changed my life. I do not remember a time before FIRST was a part of my life. I have been involved with FISRT for 10 years now, I'm currently 19. When i join my team I joined the Public Relations section. I had learned how to write a business plan in only grade 9. By grade 10 I was the public relations leader and my last 2 years on the team I was the Team Coordinator and head of awards. Every season I got to see all my countless hours of work pay off is the most amazing feeling. FIRST has taught me so much.  It teaches so many amazing soft skills that employers look for, like communication, by talking to judges at competitions or presenting the Chairman's award, or talking to school about starting teams. I learned how to manage my time, team work and leadership, organization, critical thinking, creativity, initiative, work ethic, mentoring, and even to put your passion into my work. Without FIRST I would never have imagined being at UW studying Nanotechnology Engineering!

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Michael Lawson by Anonymous

All of the FIRST students that I know are extraordinary examples of innovators. They have learned how to build a robot in 6 weeks, how couldn't they be? It's a great program that has the potential to affect even more kids in the country.

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Ruby T. by Ruby T.

I was a student of First and this program helped me gain business skills because I helped with the marketing and fundraising for my team. I wasn't as strong at the technical stuff but I could learn from others - mostly the driver on the team - and I could lead the business part. It was a really good experience and helped me.

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Philip Wang by Philip Wang

In the high school program, students are often mentored by STEM-related industry professionals. This leads to youths and highly experienced adults building a robot together for 40+ hours per week over 6 weeks. Additionally, these high school students sometimes mentor younger students from the elementary and middle school programs. I cannot imagine another organization that facilitates this level of an intimate learning experience.

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Megan McEwen by Megan McEwen

FIRST has made an incredible impact on my life. My three years as a high school participant taught me more about leadership and teamwork than any amount of classes could. By designing and building robots I gained hard skills in wiring, machining, and programming, and being captain of my team taught me soft skills in business management, presenting, and proposal writing. FIRST gave me the confidence to look at problems as challenges instead of obstacles, and it made me believe that I could actually be an engineer. I attribute most of my skills, from leadership to engineering design, to my experience with FIRST. I'm studying electrical engineering now, but I'd never have made it here without my FIRST mentors. FIRST literally changed my life forever and I think everyone should be a part of a program as incredible as this.

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Jennifer Chen by Jennifer Chen

The FIRST team at my highschool had started the year I entered highschool; though it was a rookie team, I learnt so much from my teammates and from the other teams we met along the way. It was at first a very frightening experience, but I slowly learnt how to collaborate more effectively with the rest of my teammates, and became really great friends with all of them. I'm extremely touched by the generosity all teams show to us when we require assistance as well; gracious professionalism is really evident at all events we go to. being a part of the team now for two years has really encouraged me to step up as a leader, as a team worker and as an individual aspiring to enter into a STEM field. FRC has made a really big impact on my life already, changing my working habits and also my future goals, and has taught me so many valuable lessons along the way; FIRST has no doubt inspired many across the country, and with more support, I'm sure that more students will grow to become very successful. I'm very excite

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Roland Sing by Roland Sing

As an entrepreneur and a mentor of a FIRST Robotics team I see daily how this program impacts the lives of the students in the program. The students get an experiential learning experience that cannot be replicated in the classroom, for engineering / technical, business and personal growth. They learn about solving mechanical / electrical / programming problems using engineering methods to be sure, but they also learn about accounting, budgeting, marketing and presentation skills. They learn how to work together as a team and excel in a high stress, tight deadline environment. Some of them rise to the challenge and become leaders, learning invaluable leadership and management skills. I know of no other program that combines all of these aspects into one program which effectively and consistently prepares the students in it for the world of tomorrow, which is increasingly more entrepreneurial in its makeup. The students in this program are better prepared for that world than the students that aren't.

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Thomas Steele by Thomas Steele

As a former high school and FIRST student, I have seen teammates go on to form businesses, generate new and innovative ideas, and strive for excellence in the STEM fields. I believe FIRST is a remarkable program that encourages both linear and creative thinking in a hands-on method, and innovation.

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Dave Ellis by Dave Ellis

I have been volunteering for FIRST for over 10 years now as a coach and event organizer.  As an educator of 17 years I can truly say there is nothing I've seen that comes close to the powerful experience that students have in FIRST.  It provides impact in the sciences and math but also in essential areas like teamwork and cooperation, time management and problem-solving skills.

Most of my time with the non-profit has been as an event organizer and dealing with the volunteer coaches and event volunteers. I'm continually impressed with the caliber of people that are continue to return year after year to help to provide the positive opportunities for the young people across the province. 

Volunteers continue to give of their time and talents because they believe in the impact of this program for its participants. They believe in the impact they are having on our youths' futures and love to be a part of that positive global movement. 

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Cameron Douglas by Cameron Douglas

There is so many aspects FIRST Robotics covers that leads to the innovation of young minds. Going into grade 9 I excelled in math and to me this meant you were destined to be an accountant. I wasn't looking forward to what was on the other side of high school because this never excited me. Now, I am going into grade 12 and have never been more excited to see what is on the other side, all because of how much my life has changed with FIRST. Robotics encompasses science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The major categories that innovation in our country have shifted towards and what FIRST Robotics focuses on. This is what lead me to realize I can take my ability to use numbers and my passion for chemistry and do something amazing. Overall, FIRST Robotics sparks innovation in this country with their integration of STEM for students to enrich their learning environment and spark their interests to be an innovator in life.

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