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Budding scientists and engineers from Powys rise to the STEM challenge

Budding scientists and engineers at eight primary school across Powys have been introduced to a series of STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths – activities.

Designed to promote manufacturing and engineering as potential future careers, the STEM activity days were organised by Mid Wales Manufacturing Group (MWMG) with support from training provider Myrick Training Services, EvaBuild, Paveaways and Compact Orbital Gears. 

The activity days are part of the Powys Community Skills Initiative led by Powys County Council and funded through the UK Community Renewal Fund.

More than 500 learners from years five and six took part in three different activities which required a range of STEM skills.

The activity days were held at Crickhowell County Primary School, Mount Street Junior School, Brecon, Rhayader Church in Wales Primary School, Ysgol Cefnllys, Llandrindod Wells, Knighton Church in Wales Primary School, Builth Wells Primary School, Penygloddfa County Primary School, Newtown and Welshpool Church in Wales Primary School.

One of the activities involved assembling and soldering their own circuit boards and understanding the function of each component.

The learners also built a giant tetrahedron – a triangular-based pyramid –  structure using only dowels and elastic bands, which emphasised the importance of teamwork and listening to and following instructions, as well as exploring many roles in the construction industry.

The final activity was a show based on the abilities of Superheroes, which introduced learners to a wide range of careers and showed them that engineers and scientists are people just like them. This activity explored materials and their properties, forces – motion, gravity, energy and light – space and the environment.

Myrick Training Services, based in Montgomery, spoke to learners about the important role played by apprenticeships and the future career opportunities available for them in Powys.

Next event planned by MWMG is a Rocket Making Day on August 5 at Myrick Training Services as part of the Summer of Fun activities in Powys.  Places are limited with bookings via the website: www.mwmg.org/skills .

“We are grateful to the local companies for providing staff to support these activity days,” said Ceri Stephens, MWMG’s group manager. “Engaging with young people at an early age to re-emphasis the importance of STEM is a high priority for us and will hopefully lead to a pipeline of future engineers for the region.

“With such difficulties in recruitment, we need to do what we can to ensure that young people are aware of the opportunities available to them locally and the vast career choices that exist within the manufacturing and engineering sector.”

Cllr Pete Roberts, Powys County Council’s Cabinet Member for a Learning Powys, said: “I’m delighted that MWMG has organised these STEM activity days for learners across Powys.

“Powys has a history of engineering innovation and I hope these exciting, hands-on activities have engaged our learners and inspired them to expand their horizon when they make their career choices in years to come.”

Georgie Bevan, Powys County Council’s head of education, said: “My own son and daughter attended this event and they were both enthused and excited about the different experiences they had.

“As an engineering graduate, I am encouraged by the STEM opportunities that are being presented to the young people of Powys and look forward to seeing them develop further.”

Learners and teachers gave a big thumbs up to the activity days. “It was awesome, 11 out of 10!  Maybe next we could make robots,” was verdict of one learner, while others said: “I think today was brilliant, one of the best events we have ever had” and “I have really loved it and it has given me inspiration as a job for when I am older”.

Teachers were similarly impressed, commenting: “Children were very engaged all day and enthusiastic about completing the tasks” and “Great to see activities promoting teamwork and fantastic to promote science and engineering.”

Picture caption:

Learners from Builth Wells Primary School with the tetrahedron they built.

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