Hundreds of children from Teesside schools who take on their own Scrapheap Challenge and create exciting designs and models from recycled materials are to benefit from funding from UK Steel Enterprise.
The Scrapheap Challenge is just one of the projects run by Inspire2Learn, a teaching and learning centre in Middlesbrough. It organises conferences, courses and a whole range of events tailored to the needs of local schools with a special focus on engaging with employers and local businesses.
The Challenge has become a popular event for pupils aged 7 to 15 with between 60 and 150 children attending each month. Now, UK Steel Enterprise, the Tata Steel business-support subsidiary, has provided funding of £2,500 to help Inspire2Learn buy the recycled materials they need for the project.
“We are very grateful for this support,” said Manager Andrew Stogdale, “particularly as UK Steel Enterprise also helped us a couple of years ago when they marked their 40th anniversary with some special community funding.
“Inspire2Learn is all about inspiring and encouraging children to recognise and develop their potential. The Scrapheap Challenge really develops their imaginations and ideas as well as building skills in teamwork, communication and planning.
“The models that we see take shape are amazing and have included many inspired vehicles and buildings, including a space hotel. The teams present their work live on video and that gives other pupils at school or parents the chance to watch as well.”
The Challenge has attracted valuable support from local business and industry with employers involved in a whole range of jobs and sectors from engineering to logistics volunteering some of their time to work with the children.
“Everyone benefits,” said Andrew Stogdale. “The children learn a lot and have their eyes opened to different career choices and business people have the opportunity to contribute to developing the skills they need in a future workforce.
“Research has shown that interaction with employers has a very positive outcome for young people, even in terms of their future earning potential,” he added.
Sue Kirk of UK Steel Enterprise said: “Our Community Support Fund has backed many different projects that improve the life of people living in our steel areas. As a business-support organisation that invests in local businesses, we are particularly pleased to support the Scrapheap Challenge. It not only helps young people into the world of work but also helps ensure that employers will have the right skills available to help them grow their businesses successfully.