Cash to help 18,000 kids in Doncaster into STEM careers

Doncaster Chamber has been awarded £100,000 by the Edge Foundation to help young people in Doncaster get into STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) careers. 

Working in partnership with Doncaster Borough Council and Sheffield Hallam University, the project offers 18,000 students aged 15-18, work experience with local industry partners, advice on careers in advanced manufacturing, engineering and rail, mentoring programmes and ‘have a go experiences’, as part of a programme to raise ambitions and confidence.

The Chamber’s Business & Education Manager, Tina Slater, said:‘Doncaster has achieved fantastic growth in recent years, and we have seen increased demand from sectors such as engineering and logistics, construction, tourism and financial services for technical and professional skills. 

Doncaster is currently classed as a social mobility ‘black spot’ and businesses often face challenges when recruiting for skilled roles. 

The wheels are already in motion to address this in balance. For example, through the opening of the National College for High Speed Rail 2 in Doncaster in September, the current campaign for a Doncaster University Technical College, and crucially, the work of the Chamber’s own ‘Doncaster Skills Academy’ to support all of Doncaster’s secondary school students to become work-ready.

The work of the Doncaster Skills Academy is designed to engage young people who might have otherwise been put off STEM subjects, by relating school work to the workplace and showing the rewarding career opportunities available. This work is a vital component of securing both the future of Doncaster’s young people, businesses and the local economy.’  

The grant is one of just twelve awarded this year by the independent education charity from a total fund of £1million. Edge campaigns for young people to have equal access to different career pathways including apprenticeships, Further Education and Higher Education, and be better prepared for work via quality careers advice and employer engagement whilst at school.

Edge Chief Executive, Alice Barnard, said:‘Many young people are put off STEM subjects at school and have a limited understanding of the breadth of career opportunities open to them with this kind of skill set. This project has already delivered some great results and we’re delighted Edge’s grant will help to build on that success and support more youngsters in Doncaster into their careers.’

Applications to the Grant Fund had to address at least two of the following five funding themes:

- Improve the design and delivery of engaging and relevant Information, Advice & Guidance

- Support the development of profound employer engagement

- Support the development of truly blended learning opportunities as part of a 14-19 curriculum

- Support the development of high quality apprenticeships, particularly at higher levels

- Address areas of skills shortages for the UK 

Find out more about the Doncaster Skills Academy, and how businesses can become involved in the project, by contacting Tina Slater on tslater@doncaster-chamber.co.uk

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