Massive project to engineer change

Every young person in Plymouth between the ages of 7 and 18 will be getting a special workshop as part of a citywide initiative designed to engineer change in attitudes.

A total of 15,680 pupils – all in Key Stages 2 to 5 – will attend specially tailored workshops aimed challenging perceptions and to show that the key subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths are fun.

The workshop includes a quiz, interactive activity – such as an experiment and an amazing video, Engineering Plymouth, created by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) which highlights some of the extraordinary engineering feats that have become part of Plymouth’s landscape and history – such as Smeaton’s Tower and the Breakwater.

Councillor Jon Taylor, Cabinet Member for Transformation, Education and Skills said: “Plymouth wants to see our next generation achieve and aspire and we are working with schools to create that extra buzz about learning these massively important subjects. We have a Plan for Employment and Skills and are now at the exciting stage of putting on great and fun events all designed to get children fired up.”

As well as the workshops, cracking ideas are on the cards for children and young people to get excited about STEM subjects and see how they can apply to play as well as to work.

Six primary schools Beechwood Primary, Marine Academy Primary, Oakwood Primary, Riverside Primary, Weston Mill Primary and Woodford Primary are working with the Institution of Engineering and Technology on the first LEGO League Jr. Discovery pilot – a new programme for four to six year olds which nurtures children’s interest in STEM and develop the skills they need.

STEM coordinator Tina Brinkworth said: “These workshops are just the start. Our research shows that it only take three memorable experiences for young people to become passionate about these subjects and to pursue them through qualifications and careers. We want Plymouth’s young people to be passionate about STEM subjects and to inspire them in a fun way that fits in with the curriculum.”

More details of a summer-long celebration will be unveiled in the next few weeks which includes a competition, a big splash – literally – as well as heaps of activities across the city and at some key locations.

The programme is being put together through the Plymouth STEM Board – a  collaboration of partners from businesses, further  and higher education, who are all working to provide fantastic STEM opportunities for the city.