New Year honour for TV tech campaigner Maggie Philbin

TV presenter Maggie Philbin has been appointed OBE in the New Year Honours list.

Ms Philbin has been honoured for her work in sparking young peoples’ interest in working in science, technology and engineering.

She co-founded the TeenTech organisation, which holds events that introduce school children to technical and creative careers.

Ms Philbin has also had a long media career connected to science and tech.

Her broadcasting career began in the late 1970s when Ms Philbin presented the pioneering BBC saturday morning children’s show Multi-Coloured Swap Shop.

From there, she went on to work on the iconic BBC science show Tomorrow’s World. During the eight years she worked on that programme, Ms Philbin was first to demonstrate many innovations including car navigation systems, fax machines and mobile phones.

More recently, Ms Philbin was a reporter on the BBC’s Bang Goes The Theory science show, and has regularly appeared on other radio and TV programmes as an science expert.

In 2008, she helped to start the non-profit TeenTech organisation that aimed to give young people a realistic view of what it is like to work in jobs that have a high science, technology, engineering and mathematics component.

It regularly runs events that let school children talk to people that work in different technical sectors and lets them get a feel for the techniques, equipment and approaches used in those professions.

Ms Philbin said giving children an insight into the ways that innovation and advances occur was important because an increasing proportion of jobs revolved around competence in science, technology and maths.

Analysis: Rory Cellan-Jones, BBC Technology Correspondent

It’s hard to think of anyone in the last 30 years who has had quite such an impact on enthusing people – and in particular young people – about technology as Maggie Philbin.

People of my generation will remember her as the woman who introduced us to everything from sat-nav to digital cameras on Tomorrow’s World.

But today she is doing amazing work to get teenagers thinking about learning technology skills through her TeenTech organisation.

Having once acted as a judge at the TeenTech Awards, I can testify to Maggie’s inspirational qualities, both in showing young people that technology is about creativity as well as consumption, and in persuading companies to back her vision.

Other technology figures recognised in the New Years Honours list include:

  • Dr David Watson from IBM Research UK
  • Pauline Wiltshire of Barclay’s Silver Digital Eagles digital inclusion project
  • Deborah Forster, chief executive of Apps for Good
  • Joseph White, co-founder of free website builder Moonfruit and general partner of Entrepreneur First

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BBC News – Technology