Tech Startup inspires students with 3D printers for schools


A tech start-up on a mission to encourage more students into STEM careers has delivered the first of its 3D printers into schools, in partnership with technology firm Cisco.

Manchester-based Dicey Tech has designed, developed and built bespoke 3D printers using 3D printed components. The hardware firm's machine is available to educational institutions for £1,500, half that of similar 3D printers currently on the market.

The company aims to inspire secondary school pupils into technology by using 3D printing to teach design and coding and increase the number of students taking up careers within industries including architecture, engineering, aerospace and construction.

Dicey Tech joined Tech Manchester to help accelerate its business. The not-for-profit initiative, based at UKFast Campus, pairs tech startups with established entrepreneurs to foster a mentoring relationship.

Dicey Tech Co-founder Alex Alexandrescu said: "We know that schools are chronically underfunded, so it was imperative to keep costs down. Up to 40 per cent of the materials used within the printer are 3D printed. The other components are high-end as the machines need to be durable, reliant and efficient.

"We have delivered our first two 3D printers to schools in Greater Manchester following sponsorship from Cisco. The feedback has been fantastic, students are intrigued and it enables them to learn how to test, iterate and fail, which are crucial skills in product development and innovation."

Founded by three University of Manchester graduates (Alex Alexandrescu, Sofiane Bebert and Adrian Pop), Dicey Tech run workshops for secondary school pupils to teach both soft and technical skills, encouraging interest in STEM careers and plugging the tech skills gap.

The trio are also developing an educational platform to deliver all the learning and content resources teachers need to master 3D printing and incorporate it into classrooms across the UK.

Alexandrescu said: "We want to create a robust pipeline for companies to hire apprentices and create work experience opportunities. It's no longer necessary to go to university to learn skills to propel a career in tech. By bringing schools and businesses together it is possible to create a highly-skilled talent pipeline."

Tech Manchester was launched in 2017. The not-for-profit initiative, based at UKFast Campus, pairs tech startups with established entrepreneurs to foster a mentoring relationship.

Tech Manchester project lead Patricia Keating said: "It's fantastic to aid in the growth and development of this exciting hardware startup. The company was founded as a result of the fortuitous meeting of three international students and the fact that they have chosen Manchester as a base to develop their business is credit to the world-class tech ecosystem in the city."

Dicey Tech is on the lookout for investment and partnership opportunities with companies to enable the delivery more 3D printers and online resources into schools.

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