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Festival to be the STEM of future knowledge and skills


Jun 5, 2019 #Business, #education

Nearly 2,000 young people from across the North East are expected at one of the region’s biggest festivals of innovation, to learn about skills that can support their career.

Activities being run at Northumbrian Water’s third Innovation Festival, which takes place in July at Newcastle Racecourse, will be aimed at inspiring young people to consider careers related to science, technology, engineering, art or maths (STEAM).

Those taking part in the activities, which are being supported by the Reece Foundation and Esh Group, will be aged from 8 into their early 20s. The support of these partners ensures the activities can be offered to schools free of charge.

A range of activities and workshops will be taking place throughout the week, from July 8 to 12, including:

  • Sessions led by the Centre for Life will see young people building bridges and testing them to destruction or programming robots so that they’ll move remotely.
  • Northumbrian Water will also be working with Laughology to run Skills for Success workshops, offering a fun opportunity to learn about really valuable life skills.  Laughology’s approach to learning, development and thinking uses humour and happiness as a foundation and has proved very impactful with children and adults.
  • Additionally, in partnership with Seven Stories, the National Centre for Children’s Books, young people will be able to find out how to make a really effective point or argument using story telling techniques and discuss the issues of single use plastic, with artist and environmental activist, Diane Watson.
  • A three day workshop with Fix it Café  focusing on fixing skills for everything from clothes to electronics, that would otherwise go to landfill, supports the Innovation Festival’s zero waste message and will give young people valuable skills.  Gateshead College will share how to set up your own business with the students.
  • A mothers’ and daughters’ workshop on Wednesday evening is bringing people together from a range of organisations to give a taster of the breadth of opportunities in the North East using STEM skills.  Fathers and sons will be welcome too, but as there are still many fewer girls choosing STEM careers than boys, raising awareness amongst girls is a priority.
  • Sixth formers, college and university students have been invited to find solutions to some of the same challenges as the adults on site. It’s a great opportunity for them to learn, network and gain a really different experience for their CV.

Sophie Carvin, Northumbrian Water’s NWG Academy Manager said: “We intend to give young people an enjoyable and memorable time and try to make the prospect of work less daunting by highlighting that they already have the foundations of skills that people use in their jobs every day which they can build on and practice. We’d love some of them to be inspired to follow a STEM related career and come back to the Innovation Festival in future years.

“As we, and our sponsors, are passionate about encouraging girls to take up STEM careers, we’ll make sure it is crystal clear that women find STEM careers enjoyable and worthwhile as well as men.

“The Festival has also created opportunities for a number of students to gain work experience. They will be involved in all sorts of activities including supporting the Northumbrian Water Communications team on site with photography and journalism, as well as supporting the co-ordination of health and wellbeing activities and the smooth running of the Festival. We’re aiming to get as many young people involved as possible.”

There are still a few places left, so those who have not signed up yet, don’t miss out, there is a chance to register here:  www.innovationfestival.org/steam.

By NWater