Thousands of young people across Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire will be now able to explore virtual reality worlds, get stuck in with robotics, and experiment with 3D printing, thanks to a new science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) Centre at Nottingham College.
The new resource aims to raise aspirations around further and higher education and careers in STEM, but also to show how these skills can be a lot of fun and benefit us all.
The STEM Centre is located at Nottingham College Highfields campus in Nottingham Science Park, home to the College’s Engineering department.
The state-of-the-art facility has been made a reality thanks to the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Collaborative Outreach Programme (DANCOP).
DANCOP is a partnership of universities and colleges working together to raise the aspirations of young people and support them to consider their futures, as part of a national government initiative to increase the number of young people from underrepresented groups who go into higher education.
The DANCOP Nottingham College STEM Centre opened on 18 January and is available for school groups to book sessions for their pupils. Students from across different areas of Nottingham College will also have the chance to find out how STEM skills can benefit us all.
Workshops at the STEM Centre will be delivered by industry experts and STEM ambassadors, using innovative technology such as NAO humanoid robot, LEGO Mindstorm (for creating robots), Shr3d It machine (for shredding plastic to be put through a special extruder to recycle it for 3D printing), and lots more. Hands-on science experiments and electronics activities will also be available.
Gavin Varley, Head of Faculty for Engineering and Technology at Nottingham College, said: “We’re delighted to be able to welcome so many local young people to the College to explore STEM subjects. It’s also a valuable resource for our own Engineering students here at Highfields, as they’re accessing the latest innovations along with their fellow students from across different subject areas.”
Zanna Mitchell, DANCOP Project Lead at Nottingham College, said: “It’s our mission to give more young people access to resources and knowledge to help raise their aspirations, so they can choose the future path that allows them to reach their full potential. The STEM Centre is helping us to do just that and to reach more young people across Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.”
The first major event for the DANCOP Nottingham College STEM Centre will be Big Bang, a science and technology day for local schools who have booked to bring nearly 300 pupils along on Friday 25 January. This event has been organised as part of the Big Bang Near Me initiative, which is lead by EngineeringUK, a not-for-profit organisation that works in partnership with the engineering community to inspire tomorrow’s engineers.