Delivering critical skills to young people

There can be no doubt that schools across the country are working incredibly hard to help young people be prepared for the modern workplace, whilst at the same time balancing diminishing budgets. Entering the jobs market with the right digital skills is becoming increasingly important for employees and employers alike, yet many young people are not being exposed to those skills at an early enough age for them to become embedded for life. A lack of training in digital skills is the single biggest threat to the UK’s delivery of the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ yet not enough intervention is taking place. At Corsham Institute we are concerned that while the budgetary constrictions facing schools and colleges are very real, a change of focus is required to help young people gain the essential skills they will need when they reach working age.

In early July 2019 we invited pupils from a number of local schools to join us at Hartham Park for a Summer STEM Day to help embed some of this critical learning and to generate a renewed interest in STEM subjects.  

The day consisted of a variety of science, technology, engineering and maths activities with a sprinkling of fun and Harry Potter themed ‘magic’ and was designed to sparkyoung people’s interest in these areas. 

We welcomed Colerne Primary in the morning and Corsham Regis in the afternoon. After a short briefing the students split into teams and began the various activities. 

 We ran six activities throughout the day:

  • A cryptography treasure hunt which involved using a special tool to crack codes, find clues and locate the treasure chest

  • Solving mysteries based on deadly diseases and infections (this was run by Bioquell who are world leaders in decontamination and infection control solutions)

  • Binary jewellery making where young people used different coloured beads to build their initials in binary code on bracelets and necklaces

  • Drawing game in Virtual Reality

  • Designing and building protective environment to protect an egg when dropped from a height

  • The tallest tower challenge, a competition to see who could build the tallest freestanding tower from straws and lollipop sticks

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As well as inspiring young people in STEM areas, the activities also encouraged creative thinking and teamwork which are valuable skills for all areas of life. This event was part of our wider Children and Young People programme to encourage digital skills, creativity and safety. Only by tackling the growing digital skills gap head on, will we see the type of change taking place to prepare young people for the exciting careers which lie ahead of them.

There’s nothing more exciting to witness than young people working together and seeing that spark of excitement and realisation as they solve a STEM puzzle or challenge. Whether educators, business leaders, entrepreneurs or working in not-for-profit, we all have a role to play in helping young people light that spark.