Working out Wi-Fi and building bridges

Nov 30, 2023

Project management, teamwork, budgeting and presentation skills were all put to the test at UTC Heathrow on Thursday 23 November, when Year 10s took part in workshops run by three of the school’s Digital Futures Programme partners – Yondr, LMG and CNet Training.

Task one: Building bridges

Mustan Mamujee Product Development Director at Yondr set his class the task of building a bridge out of paper, sticks, string and Sellotape to a set of specifications. The children had to work together in teams to come up with the bridge that best met the brief – which was no small ask!

Mustan, who has run this workshop before, said: “We’ve never had a team complete the task properly before. It’s actually a really simple task. I’m not actually looking at who builds the best bridge – it’s more to see which team works in the best way to come up with the solution.

“A lot of teams get there, then ego gets in the way – it’s almost too many chefs and not enough cooks. So many people want an input and come to task with an image in their mind of how it should look, they forget the brief. So for these younger students, in many ways this is a lesson in how not to work as a team.”

Student Charles Birchard said he really enjoyed the task. “I love doing stuff with my hands; I want to be an engineer when I’m older, so it’s nice be building things and learning about teamwork and project management at the same time.”

“It’s really different to what I did in my old school where we just sat there in lessons. I wake up feeling excited to come to this school.”

Task two: Whys and wherefores of Wi-Fi and CCTV

The second class were led by LMG’s Executive Director Mike Hook, supported by LMG employees Natasha and Alicia.  They were given a two-part challenge to create an economical and efficient WIFI network to a set floor plan, using coloured paper circles that represented one of three channels, which couldn’t overlap. A second task was to set up a CCTV coverage plan in an imagined data centre using coloured dots.

The aim of the task was to get students working together to plan, create a budget and look at the technical restrictions and physical needs of that particular business.

Natasha said: “It was really interesting seeing the teamwork – you could totally see the different mindsets of the children – how they would take ownership of the parts of the project they felt most comfortable with.

“A lot of them have never thought about where their wifi comes from, or where to put it. They’re just so used it just being there, the actual concept of someone putting it into a plan and working it out to a budget seemed like an unknown.”

Student Valerija agreed. “It was good to think about how wifi gets into the building and all the things you have to consider. I enjoyed the lesson; I liked doing a practical challenge in a team.”

Task three: Perfecting presentations

Class three worked with Sarah-Louise Isaacson and Toby Sewell from CNet Training on their presentation skills. Using Steve Jobs unveiling the iPhone as inspiration, the students (once they’d got over the shock that iPhones haven’t always existed…) then worked in pairs to come up with engaging presentations they would perform to the rest of the class.

Sarah explained: “Today we worked on presentation skills to give them a bit of preparation for when they go out into the real world. They learnt the hard way – we put them up in front of each other which made some of them feel awkward, but they did it anyway. We showed them examples of good presentations from other people in industry, such as Steve Jobs unveiling the iPhone, which blew their minds.”

She explained why sessions such as these ones help both the students and the business: “For us as an organisation it’s really important that we engage with the next generation. We’re looking at careerships – how people start off in their career, and how we can help make education more purposeful for the workforce ahead.

“One of the reasons we enjoy these off curricular training activities is because it gives the students an insight into the world of business, but it also gives us an insight into what young people are thinking, what the future looks like from their perspective and we can continue improving our company to meet their needs.”


  • The Digital Futures Programme is helping provide a roadmap for the next generation of data centre talent in the UK.
  • UTC Heathrow has the backing of a number of data centre partners helping support the development and learning of students between the ages of 14-19, sharing transferrable skills and technical expertise across the spectrum of data centre design, engineering and operations.
  • If your company is interested in working with UTC Heathrow students as part of the Digital Futures Programme, please visit here for more information.

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