Expanding our reach to Clacton and Liverpool
Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects underpin our entire economy, from power generation and electricity distribution to healthcare, transportation and communication. However, it is estimated that around 40% of employers are finding it difficult to recruit for STEM related positions, and this is expected to worsen in the future. With an ageing workforce in these fields it is vitally important that we develop STEM education to inspire the next generation.
Anglia Ruskin University is committed to the promotion of STEM subjects, and between 2007/8 and 2012/13 saw a 51% increase in STEM student numbers. In 2015 the University received £5 million of HEFCE funding for a new science centre which will allow them to continue to work towards filling the skills gap in the region. In addition, Anglia Ruskin is working with IntoUniversity to establish a STEM-focused learning centre in Clacton-on-Sea, addressing educational disadvantage and inspiring future generations of engineers, developers, doctors and other STEM professionals.
Clacton-on-Sea was historically a thriving seaside town, attracting high numbers of tourists between the 1950s and 1970s. Jaywick, a small town to the west of Clacton-on- Sea, was originally built as a holiday village, comprised of temporary accommodation. However, it now has a permanent population of around 4,600. According to the Index of Multiple Deprivation 2015, Jaywick is the most deprived neighbourhood in England, and it is reported that 33% of children in Clacton-on-Sea are living in poverty.
I began working for IntoUniversity in 2015 as a Senior Education Worker in Southampton. Being part of the team that set up the Southampton centre has provided me with a wealth of knowledge and experience that I can use in my new role in Clacton-on-Sea. IntoUniversity has given me the opportunity to work with a much wider age-range of young people and to see them learning in different contexts.
Since taking up the role of Team Leader in Clacton-on-Sea this year I have been working hard to build relationships with the local schools and other community groups. One of the really amazing things about Clacton-on-Sea is how friendly and open everyone is, and how keen people are to work together.
I’m excited about the specialist facilities we will have, including a computer suite. Computing can really empower students — we often assume that young people are ‘digital natives’ and that they can already use computers, however, there’s a difference between using a computer, and being able to explain how it works, and to create content for it — to write programmes and learn to code.
I’m really looking forward to having the centre set up, meeting the team, and being involved in transforming it from an empty space to a thriving learning centre, having a real impact on the local young people.
If I could give myself, or any 15-year-old advice it would be this:
It’s OK to not know exactly where you want your life to go right now, as long as you’re working hard and being the best version of yourself that you can be in this moment.
Liverpool has always been a fantastically vibrant and thriving city. It achieved European Capital of Culture status in 2008, boasts a world UNESCO heritage site, two global football clubs, four universities, and is birthplace of The Beatles. Liverpool’s rich cultural history attracts millions of tourists from around the world, drawn to its colourful musical heritage and bustling shopping district. In 2014, Rough Guide readers voted Liverpool the fourth friendliest city in the world.
Accolades aside, the Liverpool City region is ranked as the second most deprived of the 39 Local Enterprise Partnership areas. IntoUniversity North Liverpool will be opening in autumn 2017, in partnership with the University of Liverpool and the Liverpool Football Club Foundation. Anfield, where the centre will be based, is ranked as one of Liverpool’s most deprived wards. Over 36% of Anfield’s population have no qualifications and only one in ten residents are qualified to degree level or higher, which is half the city’s rate. The Anfield ward is 93% white working class, a high-risk group in terms of Higher Education access; with white working class boys least likely to enter university. This is the first time in IntoUniversity’s history that every single school in an area meets our criteria, clearly indicating the high level of need. Anfield has a vibrant community culture, and many local organisations are determined to work hand-in-hand to support vulnerable and excluded members of society.
IntoUniversity, the University of Liverpool and the Liverpool Football Club Foundation will be working in collaboration to address underachievement and social exclusion among young people aged 7–18 in the local area. The partnership will aim to provide the centre with volunteers, mentors, workshops and exciting new opportunities for IntoUniversity North Liverpool students.
I was thrilled to learn I had been appointed to the role of Team Leader for the North Liverpool centre. IntoUniversity is a forward thinking, innovative charity and I’m delighted to take on the challenge of overseeing the centre move from its set-up phase into it becoming a thriving IntoUniversity centre! We are currently building relationships with local schools and academic departments at the university, spreading the word far and wide among community organisations in the area and beginning to plan exciting and immersive FOCUS weeks.
My previous work as a teacher in Liverpool and my experience of delivering the new national curriculum will help me to support the team to plan engaging and successful sessions, in line with the expected outcomes for each year group. Additionally, teaching in an area of high socio-economic deprivation has given me an insight into the various daily challenges faced by many of the families and young people we will be working to support. It’s extremely rewarding to be part of the impact that IntoUniversity North Liverpool will have in the Anfield area.
If I could be 15 again I would tell myself the following 15 words:
Don’t be worried about the future, work hard at school, be kind and have fun!