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ICE member STEMpowered Learning has won a 5-year contract with the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng) to coordinate the Welsh Valleys Engineering Project (WVEP) which will be launched on Friday 9 March in Ebbw Vale.

The project has been established as a fully funded, five year programme of STEM teacher CPD and student support activities which will provide STEM enhancement and enrichment opportunities to schools free of charge over a sustained period, to create an engineering ethos across schools and the local community. In partnership with Coleg Gwent and Merthyr College, it will be working with to eight secondary schools and five primary schools in the two unitary authorities.

The RAEng’s approach draws together schools, colleges, employers, government and other key stakeholders to inspire and encourage more young people to study STEM subjects in post-16 education. The WVEP will enrich the curriculum, stimulate interest, and improve student attainment outcomes by providing real-world engineering practice for the participants. The WVEP will be working to encourage more people, especially young women and those from socially disadvantaged backgrounds and other under-represented groups to progress towards engineering roles in industry.

The project aims to:

· build strong and enduring links between primary and secondary schools, further education colleges and partners in industry

· provide funding for schools to participate in established national programmes such as Tomorrow’s Engineers and other projects

· provide a yearly grant scheme for schools to support in-house delivery of STEM activities and collaborative projects

· enrich the existing science and technology curriculum by providing 4,000 STEM learning opportunities for students each year

· provide free access to high quality RAEng STEM resources and associated teacher training to provide practical, hands-on activities for students

· support and incentivise STEM students undertaking A level or vocational/technical qualifications through a Scholarship Bursary Scheme.

In the longer term the WVEP will set up an Education and Skills Partnership to bring together STEM industry and schools to facilitate closer working and to further the STEM agenda in Blaenau Gwent and Merthyr Tydfil.

In addition to STEMpowered Learning coordinating the project, two other Welsh ICE organisations will be involved in the launch: Blackwood Embedded Solutions will be bringing their robot, and GreenNova Productions will be producing the launch video and photography.

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