The Smallpeice Trust

Encouraging the engineers of the future

In the UK, there’s a huge shortage of engineers. According to a report published by Engineering UK, an estimated 203,000 skilled workers are needed each year to meet demand. To help with this huge mission, we’re supporting a project to develop young people’s curiosity and fuel their passion for engineering – particularly those from underrepresented groups.

In 2023, we awarded a grant of over £49,000 to educational charity, the Smallpeice Trust, for their STEM Educational Enrichment project which targets 12-14 year olds in London schools. Through STEM Days, ‘Think Kits’, and a residential course, young people will learn about different STEM-related careers, and the routes into them – including apprenticeships and higher education.

  • In the 2023-24 academic year, up to 600 students from 10 London schools will take part in a STEM Day.
  • Up to 200 students will take part in a STEM club activity and around 50 students will join the Engineering Experience residential course.
  • In 2020/21, 56,000 students benefited from the Smallpeice Trust’s Over 60% of participants were girls and non-binary students.

Building skills and experience

STEM Days are hosted by a Smallpeice Trust educator and designed to complement the national curriculum in science, technology, engineering and maths. Activities can be tailored to suit the school’s needs and range from designing low emission vehicles to building speakers. Think Kits help teachers run their own extra-curricular STEM activities for around 20 children working collaboratively in small groups. The kits include lesson plans, presentations, student handouts, a classroom poster and activity guides. They’re great for schools that don’t have the time and resources to set up their own STEM clubs.

The final part of the STEM project is an Engineering Experience three-day residential course for 50 students aged 12 to 14. Held at a London university, the free course will broaden students’ understanding of higher education and get them excited about STEM learning. Participants will enjoy a mix of expert talks from industry and university representatives, alongside three practical design-and-make challenges. Each day is dedicated to one discipline, such as civil, mechanical or electrical engineering, so students can find out what interests them most. The course will not only develop their STEM knowledge but also build broader life skills, including problem-solving, teamwork and communication.

“The UK has a recognised shortage of engineers. We need to dare our young people to imagine what a difference they could make to the wealth and wellbeing of our nation. Whichever branch of technical subjects they might study at school, the sciences, maths or computation, there is a rich and rewarding role awaiting in engineering.”

Dr Alan Begg FREng, Chairman, The Smallpeice Trust

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