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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 years 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.

Abigail said:

“Our charitable outputs are determined by our commercial profits, which means the more businesses spend money with us, whether it’s through our venue or our retail spaces, the more we can make a positive impact on the region.”

Notable projects to arise from this year’s grants include a contribution towards the funding of a week long STEM Festival organised by the Ahead Partnership, while Trinity High School will renovate their facilities with a dedicated STEM room with high-end materials to enhance their curriculum.

Many schools are also using their grant to upgrade facilities or increase access to STEM resources for pupils.

Applications for this year’s Millennium Point Small Grants program are set to open in December, with details to be announced by Millennium Point over the coming months, with the aim of exceeding the £410,000 issued for the 2018/19 program. 

For more details please visit millenniumpoint.org.uk/small-grants or call 0121 202 2200.

Article credit: Millenium Point