Success Story: Theo Pilbeam
The Cavendish School, Eastbourne
Theo Pilbeam earned a CREST Gold Award for his computer science project EBNow – and is quick to thank mentor Will Callaghan for believing in him.
Theo, from the Cavendish School, designed and built both the back-end – database, PHP input/output forms and APIs – and front-end – Android application – for a “what’s on” events service in Eastbourne. He’s been interested in computing and development for as long as he can remember and loves the fact that the field moves and changes so quickly.
When he embarked in his CREST project he settled on an Android-based app showing information on standard TV screens, and was put in touch with mentor Will Callaghan, of TechResort CIC. “We’re interested in growing Eastbourne’s creative, digital and technical economy,” he says. “We do this by encouraging ideas to flourish, and we loved Theo’s idea.
Theo, who is studying chemistry, maths, computing and physics, says “almost everything” he learned while doing his CREST project was new to him and he had to research ways of doing almost everything online. “From the start, I made it clear that I wanted to work on something that would be there once I’d completed the award … not just disappear,” he says. “It’s been really great seeing the app that I’ve made go live in hotels around Eastbourne.”
Having a mentor, he says, really helped because one of the most difficult things for young people is getting people to believe in their ideas and support them.
The project took about a year to complete as Theo needed to fit it in around his exams, and the couple kept in contact via Facebook Messenger and face-to-face meetings. For Will it was a change of pace from his day job and he enjoyed seeing the project come to fruition.“I hope it’s given Theo an idea of how such projects are built in industry so he can eventually decide whether it’s a career area he would like to pursue,” he says.