Working with Newtown Youngsters on STEM Success

Nearly 700 young people from Newtown took part in a series of workshops to support STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths) last week. The sessions had been arranged by Mid Wales Manufacturing Group to support the Futureproofing Engineering Skills Provision in Powys Project which is supported by Powys County Council.  The aim of this project is to ensure the future growth and development of the manufacturing and engineering sector in Powys by helping to address the skills and training barriers being faced by the industry.

Manufacturing & Engineering in Powys employs over 5000 people, by employee numbers and the industry is facing a skills shortage.

The week began with Year 5 & 6 Pupils from Newtown primary School and with Years 7 & 8 at Newtown High School taking part in activities including the Lego Mindstorm The EV3 experience which enables pupils to programme and command LEGO robots.  Using the Knex building system students design and build racing cars. Then using compressed air pumps these are fired along a track and using appropriate key stage mathematics to analyse performance.

The Green energy workshop enabled pupils to construct a solar powered car from a kit, ensuring the drive axels and gears meshed correctly, and the vehicle had minimal rolling resistance.  Once the car was charged using solar power it was monitored using a voltmeter.  The final challenge was to charge the car just enough to run down the track and stop at a predetermined point.

The CITB also provided the ICE Bridge to Schools covering civil engineering to assist with the week long activities. 

A number of companies also provided volunteers including EvaBuild, Control Techniques, Myrick Training, & NPTC Group of Colleges.

Engaging young people at an early age and providing an insight into the industry locally and the opportunities is vital to addressing the skills needs of local engineering and manufacturing companies.”

— Cllr Martin Weale, Powys County Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Planning

“Our thanks go to all the volunteers and helpers volunteers including EvaBuild, Control Techniques, Myrick Training, & NPTC Group of Colleges who all came together to ensure that young people in the region were able to take part in this day and gain a greater understanding of the opportunities that are available to them locally in industry. ”

— Ceri Stephens Group Manager for Mid Wales Manufacturing Group


Katie Davies, Year 6 pupil from Ysgol Dafydd Llwyd “It was an amazing practical day of engineering. We highly appreciate this and it is a day we will never forget. Full of fun educational, mathematical, scientific, technological but most of all intriguing things that we enjoyed very much. Although every activity was brilliant, my favourite activity was definitely making the bridge because it was so very fun and we all worked as a team, it also made us think about weight distribution and so on. Thank you again, you have truly inspired not only myself, but all of the children involved. We are now using STEM theories within our work e.g. 3D shapes. So, DIOLCH YN FAWR IAWN!”


Ceri Stephens