UKSDC Mentoring Scheme

Preparing you to Compete

The UKSDC Mentoring Scheme is more than its name implies! The mentoring scheme is designed to help you build the analytical, technical, and teamworking skills that you will need for the UKSDC. Your team will be paired with two experienced volunteers who can guide through both the content and admin of the UKSDC. Whether this is your first UKSDC or your fourth, the Mentoring Scheme is a useful activity that supplements and guides your team’s preparation for your qualifying round.

Content for the Mentoring Scheme will begin in the week of the 12th-16th September and will run until two weeks after your regional heat: please make sure that you are registered before 11th September to get the full benefit from the programme. Only your team size and two points of contact must be set at this stage: the mentoring scheme also allows prospective team members to learn about and to try the competition out before they commit.

Learn by Doing

The best way to get better at the UKSDC is to do it and (most importantly) to engage with it! Yes this is fictional and a bit nerdy (ok, very nerdy), but you can and will gain very real technical and professional skills through the challenges you face during UKSDC.

The recipe for doing well in this competition is difficult to distill, with a great variety of approaches being taken by different teams each year. That being said, it is clear that the path to improvement lies in trying things out and reflecting on your work, both the successes and the failures, in order to refine your methods and perfect your UKSDC techniques.

The UKSDC Mentoring Scheme gives you an opportunity to get to grips with the nature of the competition before you attempt to qualify for the first time, or to try out new software, presentation styles, or management techniques on real content.

Who are my Mentors?

Your two mentors are alumni of the competition who have decided to volunteer to help run it: they know the elements that make a presentation successful in the UKSDC and may even have gone on to judge, themselves!

Your primary means of contact with your mentor will be via their email address and we ask that you do not try to contact them by other means. You can email both of your mentors at any time for advice although they might not be able to reply immediately! You will meet your mentors digitally for your review sessions and, if possible, they might be your CEOs at your qualifying heat!

Your mentors will be the ones who provide feedback to you about your qualifying entry and they might recommend that you be invited to the Nationals, so please listen to them! Remember that they are volunteering their time to help you do the best that you can in this competition.

Sooner the Better!

Register your intention to compete in the UKSDC and submit your qualifying event preference.

12th-16th Sept
Meet your Mentors

Online video call with mentors to ask and answer questions about the UKSDC and how best to prepare.

19th Sept - 7th Oct
First Design Project

Undertake an innovation and brainstorming focused design task based on a short RFP. Present ideas to and discuss concepts with mentors in an informal design review. You can now view the tasks here.

If you applied after 11th September and were therefore not assigned a personal mentor, you can still attempt one of these tasks and submit a <= 12 slide presentation to, which may be reviewed by volunteers on a first come, first served basis. Please make the email subject 'First Task - No dedicated mentor'.

8th Oct - 4th Nov
Second Design Project

Complete a detailed, short RFP with a priority on thoroughness and technical feasibility. Halfway through this project you will be asked to submit a brief "conduct of task" document and have the opportunity to discuss your work so-far with mentors. At the end, you will formally present your proposal to your mentors. As for the first task, feel free to contact if you do not have a mentor and submit your <20 slide presentation, ensuring that the email subject is 'Second Task - No Dedicated Mentor'.

5th - 18th Nov
Optional: Third Design Project

If you have not taken part in a regional yet, you are invited to attempt another of the options for the first design project. It is valuable to discuss with your mentors how your approach to the task will or has changed.

Qualifying Heat
Attempt to Qualify for Nationals

Take part in a regional or digital event and vye for your place in the National Finals!

+2 Days
(After Heat)
Personalised Feedback

Whether or not you won your qualifying heat, your mentors will be able to offer you feedback on your proposal after a couple of days for reflection. 

+2 Weeks
(After Heat)
Submit Updated Presentation

Submit an updated version of your proposal, building upon feedback for another chance to qualify for the Nationals. Your mentors will recommend the best presentations up to the Nationals organising group who will select teams to invite. You will be told within a few weeks.

The Rules of Entry

  1. Teams may consist of between 4 and 12 students, all between Years 10 and 13 (in England/Wales, or equivalent elsewhere in the United Kingdom).
  2. Teams who are not successful in the digital heats are permitted to place an additional entry to UKSDC via the video competition.
  3. Each team must have a designated supervising adult (over the age of 18). This is usually a teacher (in the case that a team’s affiliated organisation is a school).
  4. Registration of a team using the provided form indicates permission has been given by a parent/guardian for a team member to participate.
  5. Only one team may be associated with an institution in order to give as many people the opportunity to get involved as possible. In order to enter as an unaffiliated team, no more than half of your team members may attend the same educational institution (e.g. a team of 12 may have 6 members from school A, 4 from school B, and 2 from school C, but may not have 7 from school A). If you are oversubscribed and interested in registering a second team, please contact direct. Should additional space become available, interested parties will be contacted on a first-come, first-served basis.