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Fostering future STEM talent in the Midlands with free enrichment activities for schools

Fostering future STEM talent in the Midlands with free enrichment activities for schools

Following a successful pilot in Bristol 12 months ago, leading science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) organisations from across the UK are extending their joint free STEM enrichment programmes to schools in the Midlands as part of the STEM Accord initiative. The STEM Accord will provide a targeted programme of hands-on STEM activities and courses for schools across the Midlands to help teachers, pupils and their parents, develop life-long skills and a passion for STEM

As Covid-19 continues to present challenges for the nation, STEM holds the key to tackling the virus and addressing our long-term development and economic recovery. However we are facing a drastic shortage of skilled and diverse workers across the sector, with women currently accounting for just 22 per cent of the STEM workforce.

Part of the issue is the lack of accessible opportunities for young people to develop key STEM skills, particularly in more disadvantaged and remote regions in the UK.

The STEM Accord is a collaboration between children’s education charity, The Smallpeice Trust, The ERA Foundation, WISE, STEM Learning, In2Science UK. Engineering UK and The Design and Technology Association (DATA) to address this challenge and inspire the next generation of STEM talent.

As part of the free enrichment offering, schools will have access to:

  • Practical STEM days in school delivered by The Smallpeice Trust, featuring WISE’s interactive resource, ‘My Skills My Life’, showcasing female STEM role models and the array of career opportunities available for girls, and access to inspirational role models via STEM Learning’s STEM Ambassador programme
  • Invaluable CPD and training delivered by DATA and STEM Learning to help teachers bring STEM subjects to life by using examples drawn from real world settings
  • Expert consultation sessions and access to STEM Learning’s Ambassador’s Network to help inspire STEM classroom activities
  • Work placements and mentoring for students from the Nuffield / STEM Learning research placement programme
  • In2ScienceUK school programme

The programme of activities will support the Government’s levelling up agenda by increasing the number of STEM-based opportunities for young people in areas of regional inequality.

Keith Robson, ERA Foundation, said:
“The ERA Foundation is absolutely delighted to support the fantastic group of STEM delivery partners involved in the West Midlands STEM Accord programme. As an organisation, the Foundation’s approach is founded on the principle of strong collaboration as the best approach to achieving real impact in improving the UK economy by ensuring more of our young people benefit from the great career opportunities offered in science and engineering. The work that the partners have already carried to date has been truly inspirational, and there is more to come!”

Dr Kevin P. Stenson, CEO of The Smallpeice Trust, said:
“We have witnessed first-hand the value of STEM industries during Covid-19. The brighter future of tomorrow now rests on encouraging young people from all backgrounds to aspire to a career in STEM and this new initiative will give all young people in the Midlands the opportunity to realise their potential and nurture their tech and science talent. Through working together as an industry, we can increase the number of learning opportunities available and encourage more girls and students from disadvantaged backgrounds to work in STEM.”

Eva Fryc, West Midlands Regional Lead, STEM Learning Ltd, added:
“STEM Learning is delighted to be working collaboratively with so many influential and important STEM organisations to collectively address the challenges faced by young people in the region”.

Tony Ryan, CEO at DATA, added:
“The Design and Technology Association is delighted to be working as part of the STEM Accord team on this exciting Midlands project. In these difficult times it is more important than ever for young people to have experiences that demonstrate the wide range of careers that exist and are emerging across the engineering, manufacturing, design, and high-tech sectors. The strength in STEM Accord is the collaboration of some of the country’s leading organisations working in this sector, and we are delighted to play our part in this collaboration.”

Shagufta Sharif, Development Manager at WISE, said:
“The shortage of women working in STEM continues to be a pressing issue across the
sectors. At WISE we’re committed to redressing the gender imbalance, and the STEM Accord is a brilliant way to provide hands-on experiences in schools which raise aspirations and highlight how diverse and rewarding a career in STEM can be for girls.”

Dr Rebecca McKelvey, founder and CEO at In2ScienceUK, said:
“We’re thrilled to launch The STEM Accord alongside our partners. Targeted, coordinated action is the key to overcoming the postcode lottery issue of access to technology and science-based opportunities for young people in the UK.”

Melanie Washington, Director of Tommorrow’s Engineers, EngineeringUK, said:
“EngineeringUK’s ambition is to inspire young people and grow the number and diversity of tomorrow’s engineers. We are delighted to be supporting our partners who are delivering a mix of inspiring activities, training and CPD which will engage young people and educators across the Midlands. We believe that through this collaboration we can motivate more young people from underrepresented communities to consider a career in engineering.”

Notes to Editors:

About The Smallpeice Trust

The Smallpeice Trust is a children’s education charity which provides a range of STEM-based scholarships, programmes and interactive days to get more young people from all backgrounds into engineering. With the aim of raising aspirations and creating equal opportunities for females, BME and disadvantaged students in engineering, these programmes inspire and equip all students with the skills to achieve their full potential in STEM.

For more information please visit:
For more information about STEM Accord see