South Durham University Technical College hosted more than 200 primary school students to explore the world of science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM).

The event, supported and funded by The North East STEM Foundation (NESF), aimed to inspire and engage young minds in STEM education by providing an immersive and interactive experience for children, aged 4 to 11.

UTC South Durham is one of 46 University Technical College’s across the country, all of which have been founded by a university and employer partners with a specific subject specialism.

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Founded by Sunderland University alongside Gestamp and Hitachi, UTC South Durham has a specialism of engineering and advanced manufacturing, with students starting their studies at UTC in Year 10.

Throughout the day, primary students actively participated in a range of activities, including scientific experiments, robotics demonstrations, engineering challenges, and mathematical puzzles.

Under the guidance of experienced educators and UTC alumni, the students developed problem-solving skills, critical thinking abilities, and teamwork, all while having fun and discovering the endless possibilities offered by STEM disciplines.

The NESF’s aim is to ensure every young person, regardless of background, has an opportunity to study STEM subjects in a high-quality, modern environment supported by employers, futureproofing both industry and the local economy by delivering highly skilled, innovative workers.

The charity does this by inspiring and attracting future generations into the sector via STEM outreach programmes, removing financial barriers to allow all children to access STEM education and by creating more high-quality STEM focused environments at key stage 3, 4 and 5.

Tania Cooper MBE, Chair of the NESF, said: “By introducing primary students to the world of STEM at an early age, we hope to spark their interest, encourage exploration, and pave the way for future educational opportunities and in turn forging the skilled workforce of the future."

Tom Dower, principal at South Durham UTC, said: "We believe that encouraging a passion for STEM subjects from an early age is crucial in preparing young minds for the challenges and opportunities of the future.

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“It was great to observe the students participating in a series of hands-on activities, demonstrations, and workshops, which served to showcase the wonders of STEM subjects.

“The UTC is committed to providing outstanding education to students from the age of 14. By hosting events like the Primary STEM Day, we aim to create a lasting impact on the educational landscape, fostering a generation of innovative thinkers and problem solvers who will shape the future.

“I hope to welcome some of them through our doors again in the very near future.”