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Virtual STEM Courses for Students in Wales to Become Future Innovators

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The South Wales Institute of Engineers Educational Trust (SWIEET) is working with The Smallpeice Trust to offer young people in Wales the chance to deep-dive into the exciting world of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) and develop their skills to become future engineers, through fully funded places on a range of Summer Engineering online courses.

In this double feature interview, Business News Wales spoke to both Dr Jarmila Davies, a Trustee at SWIEET; and Dr Kevin Stenson, the CEO of the Smallpeice Trust, to learn more about how the two organisations were able to work together on these courses, how they hope to dispel the misconceptions about engineering careers and achieve better exposure for engineering as a viable career pathway for future generations through the additional upskilling that STEM courses provide.

The Smallpeice Trust Summer Engineering online courses will run from July through August this year, you can find more information about them here.

We asked Dr Jarmila Davies about some of the reasons for why more needs to be done about growing a talent base within engineering:

“I think it is important, and in my view extremely important, that we target not only students but parents and teachers, because they both play absolutely pivotal roles in developing young minds and guiding them towards a future career. The misconception, unfortunately, that engineering still has in this country is massive – and through our partnership with The Smallpeice Trust, we are trying to bridge this gap […], to be more proactive and explain to students how exciting and [what a] varied profession engineering can be.”

“If you instil the thought into a young person’s mind, they become inquisitive and they want to know more. And that I think is lacking generally [in respect to guiding young people into a career within engineering].”

Dr Kevin Stenson also weighed in on how these STEM courses, supported by the partnership between SWIEET and The Smallpeice Trust, are trying to enlighten young people that the skills they learn do have a realistic benefit and continued use throughout their career:

“So we’re indebted really to SWIEET, who have actually been supporting The Smallpeice Trust for 30 years. […] As Jarmila has already said, you really can’t start earlier enough; so, we are starting at the age of 13 to actually inspire, inform and influence young people to start to consider a pathway towards an engineering career. And we want to share that excitement with young people, like “you can invent the future”, be that via technology or computer systems, or vehicles of the future, and there are brilliant opportunities and problems for young people to solve.”

“But it is important that we inspire those young people as early as possible to actually see that the science, the technology and the maths that they study at school is actually exciting, has a purpose to the world, is the stepping-stone to the wonderful career that is engineering that they can access irrespective of their background – and that they can have a really rewarding and fulfilling career in engineering.”