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Winning BMet student innovators reward college with Fujitsu innovation centre

The victory of four BMet computing students in a national Fujitsu challenge, has given rise to the launch of a brand-new Innovation Centre at Sutton Coldfield College.

It is all part of Operation Innovation – a project-based learning programme delivered by leading technology company Fujitsu, who are at the cutting edge of tech innovation in Japan. The aim is to make their technology more accessible to “the next generation of young minds.”

After beating off stiff competition from 24 other colleges in the west midlands last September, the talented BMet college team found a winning formula to tackle a healthcare issue – using artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics, alongside Fujitsu’s cutting-edge technology.

The success was not only the students gain but also the college’s, as now it has its first modern and vibrant flexible-working space showcasing innovation.

Funded by Fujitsu in partnership with the West Midlands Combined Authority, the new engaging facility encompasses colourful padded seating areas, thought boards, inspirational words, café style tables and chairs and digital screens.

The space is specially designed to help creative and digital students to have alternative and progressive ways to learn, which includes developing their technical and employability skills. However, the plan is to expand its use to all curriculum areas who should also be able to benefit.

The champion Sutton Coldfield College team impressed a panel of Fujitsu judges by creating 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.

Not only did the students win a modern, high quality Fujitsu laptop and mentor each, Fujitsu committed to building The Fujitsu Innovation Hub which has now been completed at BMet’s Sutton Coldfield College.

Students at BMet’s Matthew Boulton College also gained third prize. They 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.

Speaking of their success and their winning of the Innovation Hub for the college, this is what the Sutton Coldfield College students had to say:

Jack: “I am so pleased that what we have achieved will probably leave a legacy on the college and also future generations to come.

“It is great that we able to work so well as a team to get such positive results and Iook forward to studying in the new innovation centre, as I feel it will definitely help me to learn in an interesting and progressive way!”

Romaelo: “This is such a refreshing thing to happen to us and the college. I feel so proud to have played a part in the development of the Hub that will benefit many.

“I intend to utilise the skills I learned through the challenge in my current work and future employment – it has all been such a wonderful experience that I will never forget!”

Dawid: “I feel great about not only being in the winning team, but also enabling the college to have the Hub that will be appreciated by both students and staff.

“I’m so proud of my team and definitely feel that with these fantastic results, that the effort was definitely worth it!”

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. The collaborative challenge also involved technological and business skills workshops.

Dagen Thompson, Department Director for Creative and Digital at BMet said: “We are so proud of our extremely talented students who have gone the extra mile to not only be winners of the Fujitsu challenge, but who have awarded us with our first centre of innovation that will definitely leave a legacy.

“The room is definitely fit for purpose and will help us demonstrate our vision to be leaders of innovation and technology.

“We are extremely thankful to not only our students, but to Fujitsu who are a pleasure to work with and have been so generous to us.”

You can find out more about our creative and digital courses which can be accessed through our vocational, HE and apprenticeship pathways through our website. You can also find out more about our courses at our upcoming open day.

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