TechNExt 2024 Launches Schools’ Challenge to Inspire Future Tech Innovators

TechNExt, the North East’s leading tech festival, is thrilled to announce an exciting new initiative for 2024 – the TechNExt Schools Challenge. The challenge aims to engage school children, aged 9-13 years, from across the North East in technology and connect them with tech employers in the region.


The Schools Challenge invites students to explore the fascinating world of technology by developing tech-based solutions for real-world problems. This initiative is an opportunity for young minds to understand the potential of a career in the tech industry, especially focusing on the concept of ‘Tech for Good’. Schools are invited to develop ideas around challenge themes that address real-life problems; such as Climate Change, Online safety, Money Management and Cost of Living.


Participating schools have access to an ‘Industry Mentor,’ who are representatives from regional tech companies supporting the challenge. Industry mentors will work with teaching staff to support them on how to approach and complete the challenge.  Participating students can work individually or in groups, under the guidance of their teachers, to develop their ideas.


Each submission will be evaluated by a regional tech panel, made up of TechNExt partners and sponsors. Selected entries will be showcased at a special celebration event on the morning of Tuesday 18th June in Durham City Centre. 


Students from the chosen schools will be invited to join the celebration event, where they will be able to display an exhibition board of their idea, produced with the support of TechNExt. The event will be attended by tech employers and local dignitaries. There will also be opportunities to display student work as part of several public exhibitions across North East local authority areas.


David Dunn, CEO of Sunderland Software City and Dynamo, lead partners of TechNExt said: ‘’I am thrilled to unveil our latest initiative for 2024 – the TechNExt Schools Challenge. This new exciting endeavour aims to ignite the passion for technology among young minds aged 9-13 years. By connecting students with tech employers and providing them with real-world problem-solving opportunities, we’re not just shaping the future of technology, but also nurturing a generation of innovators who understand the power of ‘Tech for Good’. Together, let’s inspire and empower our youth to create meaningful change through technology’’.


TechNExt 2024 is more than a festival; it’s a vibrant showcase of the North East’s burgeoning technology sector. Scheduled for 17-21 June, the celebration will spotlight the region’s most innovative tech businesses and talents.


The Schools Challenge is integral to TechNExt’s mission of fostering engagement between the region’s youth and the tech industry. The challenge is sponsored by Newcastle Strategic Solutions.

Newcastle Strategic Solutions, part of the Newcastle Building Society Group, is one of the North East’s most established and successful FinTechs. The savings management platform has been helping clients to enter the savings market and grow their operations since 2004. 

Manila McLean, Chief Information Officer, said: “This engagement is more than just an event; it’s a promise to broaden horizons and establish lasting links between the tech sector, educational institutions, and local authorities – something we’re proud to help with.

“And let’s not forget, this is definitely a two-way street. The energy, the fresh perspectives, the curiosity these children will certainly bring to the table – that’s gold for us at Newcastle Strategic Solutions. It challenges us, inspires us, and pushes us to think bigger and do better.”

TechNExt 2024’s Schools Challenge aims to foster a future where technology is leveraged for the greater good, inspiring the next generation of innovators and thinkers in the North East.


Each school can submit up to 10 entries for the challenge. Schools interested in participating should complete the Expression Of Interest. The deadline for submissions is 3rd May. 


For any queries, schools can visit or reach out to


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