Students from two Cambridge colleges swapped the classroom for the Amazon Development Centre in the city when they took part in a special STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths) event.
The event, hosted by Amazon and held in partnership with Cambridge Launchpad, saw 28 students from Impington Village College and Linton Village College get a behind the scenes tour at the local Amazon Development Centre, where they learnt more about how computer science, including AI and Machine Learning, are used to make some of Amazon’s most innovative products and services.
During the tour, the students had the opportunity to meet teams from Amazon Web Services (AWS), Alexa and Ring, including current apprentices, to hear about their career paths and gain insight into STEM careers that could be available in the future.
Following the meet and greet with the Amazon teams, the students worked in groups to create music through coding as part of the day’s challenges. Using the EarSketch platform, students worked together to build a music track through coding before presenting their one-minute song to the wider group.
The aim of the visit to Amazon in Cambridge is to engage young people in STEM subjects and showcase the range of opportunities open to them in Cambridge and beyond once they finish education.
“By getting hands on with our coding challenges and meeting the people who work on some of Amazon’s most innovative products and services, we hope to inspire a passion for computer science, including AI and Machine Learning, and open up a world of career opportunities for young people to consider in the future.”
“Together with Cambridge Launchpad, we are proud to support the skills development of young people in our community and we enjoyed welcoming local students to our centre,” added Craig Saunders, Director at the Amazon Development Centre, Cambridge. “By getting hands on with our coding challenges and meeting the people who work on some of Amazon’s most innovative products and services, we hope to inspire a passion for computer science, including AI and Machine Learning, and open up a world of career opportunities for young people to consider in the future.”
Free coding lessons in Cambridge
Alongside the coding event, the team at Amazon in Cambridge is teaming up with Turinglab, as part of the Amazon Future Engineer programme, to bring coding lessons to classrooms and students in Cambridge for free, removing financial barriers for schools. Turinglab is an online platform that teaches Python, one of the most widely used programming languages globally, in a fun, engaging and accessible way for students, primarily aimed at key stages 3 and 4.
The courses take learners from absolute beginners to understanding core concepts such as sequence, selection, iteration, functions and more.
Reducing teacher workload
With a gradual approach and gamified elements, Turinglab’s lessons are ideal for students of all abilities. The platform has features like auto-marking, progress tracking and built-in theory to ease lesson preparation and admin tasks for teachers. Its diverse and theme-based content is engaging for all, including special educational needs and lower ability students, encouraging engagement and critical skills development.
Virtual school trips
In addition to the coding courses, Amazon has launched virtual school trips for primary and secondary school students to go behind the scenes at an Amazon fulfilment centre, exploring the technologies that power Amazon’s operations and inspiring students to learn more about jobs of the future.
During the tour, students travel to different “tour stops” to learn how Amazon delivers products from your online shopping cart, directly to your door. Computer science concepts like algorithms, cloud computing, efficiency, databases, quality control, machine learning, hardware and software are all introduced and explained in real-life context. The secondary school tour, recommended for ages 11+, dives even deeper on the computer science, robotics and machine learning involved in Amazon’s fulfilment process.
The virtual experience is flexible, so teachers can choose either a tour for primary or secondary students, and which way to take part; a full tour (45 - 60 min) or split in half to tour over multiple days (25 - 30 min each day). Students can even compete against their classmates as they explore the technology and careers of the future. The tours are part of the Amazon Future Engineer programme.
About Amazon Future Engineer
Amazon is committed to helping young people develop the skills they need for their future careers, particularly when it comes to Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM).
Amazon Future Engineer is our comprehensive childhood-to-career programme that offers children and young adults the opportunity to get involved in free STEM-related activities, training, and bursaries. The programme is designed to inspire, educate, and equip people with the tools they need to become the inventors, innovators, and engineers of tomorrow.