September will see the start of a new TDA initiative bringing Torbay secondary schools and local manufacturing businesses closer together through a pilot of manufacturing focussed activities designed to inspire, motivate and engage participants in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) from Primary School, through secondary school into further education and beyond.
TDA has been awarded £40,000 of funding from the South West Peninsula City Deal Manufacturing and Marine Challenge Fund to deliver this activity and the TDA has confirmed that it will match this amount by an additional £10,000 to enable delivery of this project to proceed.
The MADE project, which stands for Manufacturing Activities Designed to Engage, will support and encourage business and educators to work collaboratively to develop activities which challenge and stimulate in order to ensure young people are sufficiently equipped with the necessary skills and competencies required to be employed within the Manufacturing sector, and to progress throughout the lifetime of their careers.
Local engineering businesses including Centrax, Casting Support Systems, Dart Valley Systems, Eltek, Hymid, Spirent, Venture Photonics and Westaways Sausages are each being partnered with a Torbay secondary school to mentor and guide students from years 7and/or 8 throughout the academic year.
A Laser Cutter has recently been purchased as a shared school resource, which will enable all of the schools to participate through the delivery of shared lessons and a Schools Manufacturing Challenge competition. A showcase event will take place in autumn 2016 where the finals of the Schools Manufacturing Challenge Competition will be held, providing a perfect opportunity to exhibit the vast array of talent and opportunities on offer to local primary, secondary, further and higher education students.
Torbay’s Elected Mayor and Chairman of South Devon Manufacturing Forum, Gordon Oliver, said: “The project will raise the profile of careers within the manufacturing sector and the opportunities available locally, both now and for the future, which supports the Torbay Economic Strategy by raising skill levels and creating opportunities for all. This reflects my ongoing ambition to maintain quality full time jobs in Torbay.
“I would like to congratulate the schools who are participating in the programme and thank the local businesses in helping deliver the stimulating and engaging activities. The hard work put into the South West Peninsula City Deal has enabled this project to be funded and be successful in the region.”
The funding application was made by the TDA on behalf of the Education sub-group, which includes the Torbay Hi Tech and Torbay and South Devon Manufacturing Forums.
The take up of STEM subjects in local schools is below average, with only 49% of pupils in Torbay undertaking two or more science subjects at GCSE compared to 62% nationally, and 11% take STEM subjects at A level, compared to 15% nationally. The project aims to improve these figures and reduce youth unemployment in Torbay.
Debbie Passmore, Partnership Executive at the TDA, said: “We are incredibly excited to be delivering this stimulating project. This pilot is the culmination of more than 2-years of partnership work through the Torbay Hi Tech and Manufacturing Education Sub-Group. As a group we have had long-held aspirations to support businesses and educators to work collaboratively to develop and retain local talent through the development of inspirational activities and the MADE Pilot is a fabulous example of what can be achieved by working together.”
“I am thrilled that all 8 secondary schools in the Bay have committed to participate. This is just the start of the TDA’s efforts to promote and raise awareness of the sector, and we are keen that more local manufacturing and engineering businesses get involved in our project, as we want to highlight the wide variety of businesses which are based here and the range of potential career paths that these sectors support.”
If you are a business interested in supporting the MADE Pilot project then please email Debbie Passmore on Deborah.firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01803 208378