Hackathon 2019

FE College workshop

Thursday 24 February 2022, 14:00-16:30, online

Why students could play an important role in industrial digitalisation

Many small- and medium-sized manufacturers struggle to introduce digital processes into their current operations. Despite a burgeoning market of low-cost, off-the-shelf digital technologies, they find it difficult to justify the cost and don’t know where to start.

The Digital Manufacturing on a Shoestring project was set up in 2018 to demonstrate how quickly companies can start digitalising their processes by deploying modular digital solutions built from affordable publicly-available technologies.

Capitalising on the ease with which students can use this technology, and the enthusiasm of employees keen to develop their skills and update their work environment, Shoestring’s demonstrators and in-company trials have shown how effortlessly a solution can be deployed and with far-reaching benefits. The project highlights the important part students and apprentices could play, and how FE Colleges could use Shoestring to support them in their teaching and business development roles.

AIMS of the Workshop

If you are in charge of curriculum development or industry engagement for a FE College, join this online workshop, organised by the Digital Manufacturing on a Shoestring project, and help shape Shoestring’s digital tools.  Help develop tools that will support FE Colleges’ student and apprenticeship programmes, in both college and industry.

The workshop will include feedback from Shoestring’s FE College partners, illustrations of Shoestring demonstrators, trials and events:

  • A low cost vision system, monitoring equipment usage, which can be taught and set up in a company during a 20 hour module
  • A simple temperature monitoring system which was built bit by bit in a company – starting with an infrared sensor and Raspberry Pi set up to monitor the wax temperature on a production line, the system was rolled out across three more production lines
  • An online 2-day student hackathon, with over 100 students, which produced 25 projects addressing industrial challenges, using Shoestring’s low-cost, modular design approach
  • Mapping business needs to digital solution areas training which can prepare students to help facilitate in-company workshops to enable companies identify their top business need and the matched low-cost digital solution
  • An industrial digital project tool box for students using the Shoestring configurator which enables students to use and adapt existing ready-made solutions, and build solutions from scratch.

The workshop discussions will focus on the needs of FE Colleges in the area of practical digital skills such as:

  • The biggest issues colleges face when teaching digitalisation
  • Hands-on project learning tools that would be useful
  • How colleges would like to improve industrial engagement, and work placement schemes
  • How to shape Shoestring’s tools to support the needs of FE Colleges.


If you would be interested in attending the workshop, would like to learn more about the Shoestring approach and how it might benefit your college, please contact:

Kate Price Thomas