The nationwide STEM skills gap means that the region currently has a shortfall of 173,000 skilled workers.

89% of STEM businesses struggle to recruit with a majority of high skilled roles being left unfulfilled.

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"We have some exciting events lined up with local employers such as PwC, Intercity Technology and Pinsent Masons taking part. The festival will include workplace visits as well as some large-scale hands-on events. Cross-school events we've already done in Birmingham have resulted in 100% of the students that took part feeling better informed about how to get into the STEM sector so we can't wait to bring these opportunities to even more young people in the region." - Stephanie Burras CBE, Ahead Partnership

Ahead Partnership receive Small Grant funding from Millennium Point Trust for #STEMFestWM

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Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) learning across the West Midlands has been given a major boost after a charitable trust issued more than £410,000 of grant funding.

Grants of up to £20,000 from the Millennium Point Charitable Trust’s Small Grants Programme have been issued to 34 schools, charities and not-for-profit organisations in a bid to impact how STEM is perceived and promoted in the region.

Over recent years, several reports have been published identifying Birmingham and the West Midlands as the centre for Science and Innovation outside of London, marking STEM as the key to economic growth in the region. However, the nationwide STEM skills gap means that the region currently has a shortfall of 173,000 skilled workers as 89% of STEM businesses struggle to recruit with a majority of high skilled roles being left unfulfilled.

Until recently there was also a rapid decline in interest in STEM subjects at school, meaning less people would be entering training to eventually take up these jobs. The 2018/19 grant program will aid the purchase of new equipment, events, after-school clubs and more to enhance STEM learning and increase appetite for relevant careers in the West Midlands.

Abigail Vlahakis, CEO at Millennium Point said: “2018/19 marked an incredibly successful first year for our Small Grants Program and we are delighted to hear that our recipients are starting to put their money to good use. From early child development in schools to business development and community engagement, we are aiming to make a positive, tangible impact across the West Midlands in how STEM is perceived and promoted. We are looking forward to working with this year's recipients as they make the most of their grant funding and of course, we are excited to see the results of their work.”

Millennium Point is a multi-award-winning venue, charity and landmark public building in the eastside of Birmingham City centre. Profits from its commercial activity is invested through the Millennium Point Charitable Trust into projects, events and initiatives which support the growth and development of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) and education in the West Midlands region.

Ahead Partnership are a recipient from the Small Grants programme this year and the funding will be used to produce a week-long STEM Festival - #STEMFestWM - which will involve a series of exciting hands-on activities that will engage and inspire young people from local schools and colleges about careers and training in STEM. 

Stephanie Burras CBE, Chief Executive of Ahead Partnership, said: "We're thrilled to be working with Millennium Point to host an inspiring series of careers activities that will show students in the West Midlands the career possibilities in STEM. We have some exciting events lined up with local employers such as PwC, Intercity Technology and Pinsent Masons taking part. The festival will include workplace visits as well as some large-scale hands-on events. Cross-school events we've already done in Birmingham have resulted in 100% of the students that took part feeling better informed about how to get into the STEM sector so we can't wait to bring these opportunities to even more young people in the region."

If you are a school or college interested in taking part in #STEMFestWM with your students please contact Leonie Matthews on leonie.matthews@aheadpartnership.org.uk >>

If you are a local employer who would like to inspire young people about the world of STEM please contact Leonie Matthews on leonie.matthews@aheadpartnership.org.uk to find out how you can get involved in #STEMFestWM >>

For more details about the Millennium Point Charitable Trust Small Grants programme please visit millenniumpoint.org.uk/small-grants or call 0121 202 2200.

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