VEX-terminate! Volunteering with Robotics 

At Tapestry we’re proud to offer all our staff a number of paid volunteer days each year, giving us the opportunity to give back to the community. Our Data Production Manager, Ben Andrews, used his to revisit the classroom for a day of robotic fun. Read about his experiences!

Tapestry actively encourages each of us to take part in volunteering days, every year. For me, this means revisiting the classroom to pass on some of the skills that spurred me into a career in market research, not so long ago. My most recent volunteering experience, was with VEX.   

VEX is an international robotics competition for secondary school students. Their task is to design, build and code a robot to compete throughout the year in a set challenge by VEX organisers (usually a variation of scoring objects in goals). They start by battling against local schools, eventually aiming for the National competition, or even the World Final in Dallas held every May. Think Robot Wars, but (a little) less violent and without the terrible 90’s outfits… 

Since working at Tapestry, I’ve helped at several of these events at a local school, helping run the day, organise teams and referee matches. It’s so fascinating to see the different approaches each team takes to score points and solve the complex problems in the matches. Some might fire objects, carry them, or even make their robot climb over obstacles. It’s great to see young people excited about designing and coding right from a young age. The matches and competitions are really fast paced and more often than not, the students definitely know way more than you do!   

The volunteering days have let me give a little back to the school and the students who are passionate about the same things I was growing up. Some of them are so good at it, I’m pretty sure they’ll take my job one day – watch this space!