Engaging children and young people in STEM culture is key to the long-term success of our local community. Blidworth falls behind the national average in skills and qualifications, particularly around those STEM subjects - science, technology, engineering and maths - which are so vital for their knowledge; for the economy, jobs and growth. Blidworth Community Association has been addressing this through an ongoing project to encourage STEM learning across the community.
Last year they supported the 'rampaging chariots mini-bot challenge', a project delivered to local school and youth groups by the Young Engineers group at Joseph Whitaker School - young engineering students helping younger children get turned on to science and technology through peer to peer learning. 40 children took part from Blidworth Oaks, Blidworth & Rainworth Scouts and Cubs, and Blidworth St.Mary's Brownies.
This year with the help of funding from Ravenshead and Blidworth Rotary Club they have expanded the project to include rocket car building as well as mini-bots, and are currently engaging over 100 children and young people from schools and youth groups in Blidworth, Rainworth, Ravenhsead and Farnsfield - all the areas that feed into Joseph Whitaker, which is a centre of excellence in engineering teaching.
On Saturday the Community Association held a STEM Together Day, with the BCA, Rotary, Young Engineers and other partners, as well as children, young people and their families. The day involved testing the products that the children have built and competing amongst local schools. There were a number of events, such as rocket car racing, robot football and robot sumo wrestling amongst others. It was a fantastic community event highlighting the success of the programme, and allowing the children to showcase the fantastic work they’ve been doing over three months. Many stayed after school several nights each week to complete the project, build their ‘mini-bots’ and made a real commitment to learning and training on these key subjects.
Mark Spencer said ‘‘This was an absolutely fantastic event at Joseph Whitaker, getting loads of young people involved in Engineering and Science. A brilliant community effort! I've seen robot football, robot sumo wrestling and rocket cars, all built by the kids, who committed to the project in their own time after school. I couldn't be more supportive or positive about events like this! I hope that I can support the project to grow over a number of years. It really is incredibly important that we can give our young people these skills that they’ll need for the jobs of the future’’.