From education to employment

Education Secretary celebrates latest #Solent2050 inspiration for region’s workforce

Caroline Dinenage, MP for Gosport, and the Secretary of State for Education, Damian Hinds

The Secretary of State for Education, Damian Hinds MP, visited Gosport for the official opening of the new Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education centre where thousands of people will be trained over coming years.

Based at Bay House Academy Sports Hall, this is the latest in a number of projects that the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has backed in order to develop the resident skills base and transform the Solent economy into a coastal powerhouse.

The Solent LEP continues to spearhead STEM as a career pathway, with schools the latest to benefit from LEP support. The Solent’s Enterprise Adviser Network, which pairs secondary schools with local business leaders, has been recognised as a national leader, topping the 2018 Careers and Enterprise Company’s State of the Nation report in terms of benchmarks for good career guidance.

This provision has now been extended even further and, through the LEPs Careers Hub, the Solent LEP has announced the first four junior schools to have been supported with funding to develop innovative approaches to developing careers pathways. Ark Ayrton Primary Academy, Alverstoke Junior School, Mengham Junior School and Gomer Junior school are the first to receive investment through the LEPs new Pathways to Discovery fund.

The new Gosport STEM Centre is led by the Gosport and Fareham Multi-Academy (GFM) Trust, who want all its pupils and others across the region to be inspired by and understand the exciting and necessary real-world application of STEM subjects. The GFM Trust, who educate over 4,500 learners across primary and secondary schools, are fully integrating STEM into their curriculum and generating a shared resource to engage young learners with STEM career pathways. The STEM Centre, opened today, will create new opportunities for ‘hands-on’ construction and other practical activity. It will also provide new lecture and teaching facilities to encourage improvements in STEM education and skills for both learners and teachers in the Solent region.

Anne-Marie Mountifield, Solent LEP Chief Executive, said:

“Investing in young people by providing them with the right pathways so that they can benefit from future job opportunities is crucial. We are working to enhance information, advice and guidance available to learners and investing to improve all stages of their career pathways. The GFM’s new centre is an outstanding example of a school leading the way in encouraging young people to get enthusiastic about STEM subjects in a really hands-on, practical way. We are delighted to be able to help them showcase this work to inspire others across the region. This type of support early on will support the development of a world class skills base in the Solent for our industries of the future, and help ensure our local young people are equipped to access the new opportunities on the horizon.”

The Rt Hon Damian Hinds MP, Secretary of State for Education, officially opened the centre, saying:

“The increased influence of technology on our lives, both at home and in the workplace, means demand for STEM skills is growing, so it’s very important that all young people have the knowledge and skills to succeed in our outward looking and dynamic economy. 

“This new centre will make sure pupils across Gosport and the wider area will have access to inspirational and engaging approaches to teaching STEM subjects – for both pupils and teachers to learn from. We’ve made considerable progress in increasing participation in STEM subjects since 2010, with the proportion of pupils taking STEM A Levels increasing by 17% but we know there is more to do and I’m sure Gosport STEM Centre will be at the forefront of this work.” 

Ian Potter, Chief Executive of the GFM, commented:

“The GFM is really proud and pleased to be opening the Gosport STEM Centre because of the opportunities it will bring to the young people of the town and the wider community. It is the only the STEM centre in the country based within a school, with the National STEM Centre based in York. It therefore puts Gosport on the national map for the initiative it demonstrates in how our schools are moving forward with STEM related teaching.” 

Georgina Mulhall, Primary Executive Head Teacher at GFM, added:

“I’m delighted the centre can now be used by our pupils. It will be a valuable asset to the local community. Primary schools can make a significant contribution to fostering children’s interest in STEM and related career pathways in a realistic way – this new facility will help them to do this. I’m grateful to the Secretary of State for supporting today’s event and to everyone else that has joined us today and helped to make this important project a reality.”

Attendees at the opening of the centre included Caroline Dinenage MP and Gosport Mayor, Cllr Diane Furlong.

About the The Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP): A partnership between business, education and local authorities. Together we play a leading role in determining economic priorities in our region and investing to drive economic growth and job creation.

Our vision is to invest and empower the region now so that the Solent will be a productive and thriving region in 2050. To do this we work together to do the following:

  • Growing the skills base & supporting business growth
  • Enhancing transport connectivity
  • Enabling flagship sites for housing and employment

In summing up these goals we use #Solent2050

Some of our most recent achievements include:

  • More than 270 small and medium-sized businesses funded with more than £10m in grant funding
  • Over 3,500 new homes completed
  • More than 9, 500 learners supported  
  • Nearly 6,000 jobs created

About the GFM TrustThe first localised Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) established in Hampshire. The founding schools of the GFM are Bay House Academy, Brune Park School, Gomer Junior School and LWS Academy. Rowner Junior School joined the GFM in September 2018. 

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