Inspiring the next generation of STEM professionals is becoming a real team effort for teachers across the Tees Valley.
Redcar and Cleveland College has joined forces with bp and nine secondary and primary schools to find innovative ways to bring STEM into every classroom.
By working alongside STEM Learning and the North East STEM Hub, along with funding from bp, the ENTHUSE Partnership could soon see their ideas shared nationally with teaching professionals across the UK.
“This is a fantastic chance for the college and schools to work together to create new and innovative ways of embedding STEM into current practices,” said Jessie Baguley, Redcar and Cleveland College’s engineering partnerships officer.
“With developments happening here on our doorstep, particularly at the Teesworks site, along with investment in the clean and low carbon sectors, we are in a prime position to raise aspirations among our young people and create a workforce that is future ready.”
The two-year bp ENTHUSE Teesside partnership will give those taking part, their schools and students access to STEM enrichment opportunities, along with continual professional development training in delivering STEM subjects from the Science Learning Partnership and Computing Hub.
The North East STEM Hub will add to this the chance to work alongside STEM ambassadors – local industry professionals who can offer careers talks, workplace visits, mentoring and work experience.
To raise awareness and understanding of careers in STEM, STEM Learning has been helping establish ENTHUSE partnerships all over the country.
On seeing the initiative launched at Redcar and Cleveland College with schools from across Teesside, partnership advisor Rob Stobie, of the North East STEM Hub, said: “It is about putting together a package of opportunities that focuses on the bigger picture for the region. Fed back into the schools and colleges, this combined offer aims to ultimately improve student attainment and inspire the next generation of STEM professionals.”
Already lending their weight to the initiative, bp’s education and employability consultant Tom Thayer said: “As a long-standing supporter of STEM Learning, bp is proud to launch the ENTHUSE Partnership with Redcar and Cleveland College and schools on Teesside and to support local STEM skills development. Industry partnerships like this are key to equipping young people with the skills they will need to thrive in low carbon careers, such as those that would support our planned hydrogen and CCS projects on Teesside.”
Owen McAteer, Regional Network Lead for STEM Learning in the North East, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with bp on this ENTHUSE Partnership and excited to be working closely with Redcar and Cleveland College and the partner schools involved.
“The green industrial revolution really is a massive opportunity for our young people in the Tees Valley and wider North East. Projects such as this new bp ENTHUSE Partnership will help ensure they are able to seize those opportunities, by enabling us to carry out intensive work with the teachers and pupils to ensure our young people develop the STEM skills and knowledge they need to flourish.”
Clare Nicholas is a higher level teaching assistant and science lead at Errington Primary School in Marske. Attending the project launch, she said: “This is a brilliant opportunity to access resources and meet other likeminded people and increase the opportunity for teaching STEM subjects. It creates such a buzz.”
She added: “To engage youngsters in STEM subjects we need to grab their interest as early as we can. Young people often think STEM subjects are not for them, or it is something they “can’t do”, when in fact science, maths and engineering is involved in so many of the activities they are already doing, even something as simple as kicking a football. Increasing the ways in which we can integrate STEM into subjects, and being able to put that into context, is brilliant for our children.”