With preparations underway for the Wales STEM Awards 2021, we couldn’t help but reflect on the incredible achievements of our 2020 winners.

Following the inaugural award ceremony last year, we caught up with the class of 2020 to share their stories with you.

Next up we have Aspire 2Be who won the STEM Company of the Year (0-25 employees) Award for their leading and delivery of a number of high-profile STEM programmes in Wales with major partners that include Microsoft and Welsh Government.

The impact of these programmes across Wales, from early years education to students who are completing Welsh Baccalaureate qualifications, along with industry experts, has been transformational.

What does your company do?

Aspire 2Be (A2B) is a multi-award-winning International Learning Technology company that crafts creative, bespoke solutions in order to develop outstanding digital competence skills across education, business, and sport.

We are the only Learning Technology company in Europe who are global training partners of all three tech giants: Apple, Google. and Microsoft.

With offices in Swansea, London and Guernsey, Aspire 2Be employs a team of leading, experienced educationalists, digital experts, technical professionals, app developers, practiced business professionals and sporting experts all striving to make a real difference through the development of innovative processes, creative products and building capability.

Our product portfolio has a local, national, and international dimension and we offer our clients the opportunity to make strategic, pedagogical, technical, and transformational change with technology, innovation, and inclusion at its heart.

Why did you enter the Wales STEM Awards?

We strongly believe in the importance of growing and developing the STEM sector in Wales and as such we provide a unique service to young people across the country, providing them with unique and innovative programmes with partners.

The Wales STEM Awards seemed a perfect vehicle to demonstrate what we do as a company, along with other outstanding companies. The judges also had an excellent background within the sector and this gave us lots of confidence that the awards were most certainly very credible.

What does winning a Wales STEM Awards mean for your business?

It absolutely means the world to us. We were delighted to win and literally haven’t stopped smiling since the virtual awards ceremony. We have seen an increase in the amount of enquiries to our company and a big spike in our social media following.

What did you think of the virtual awards ceremony?

It was an outstanding evening. Very well presented, hosted and was exciting.

What’s been a challenge for your business during the last year and how did you overcome it?

We have seen our direct face to face engagement with clients disappear due to Covid and so have used the time productively to develop our key services into outstanding online platforms.

AspirED Online is a great example of this and this platform for educators won a place on the Sky TV SME250 Programme for 2020. This won us a free £10,000 TV advertising campaign for the platform.

What’s been a highlight for your business during the last year and why?

Winning the Wales Stem Company of The Year (0-25 employees) and also winning a place on the Sky TV SME250 Programme. Both awards were very important for us to allow us further exposure and marketing opportunities. However, speaking as Managing Director, it was also important as it illustrated what a wonderfully talented team we have at A2B and allowed each of them individually to celebrate their contribution to the companies continued successes.

What are your goals for 2021?

We have just completed a restructure and are about to appoint two new team members, the main goal for 2021 is to improve our marketing and sales of our bespoke online platforms. We have three main audiences to hit and they are Wales and Welsh Medium Schools, the UK Education market and finally the International Schools sector. We have the opportunity to market and sell our company to the world on the back of our platforms.

What, in your opinion, can be done to inspire more young people to pursue careers in STEM?

I think more ways in which we can integrate the importance of STEM into the curriculum the better. Increasingly, more and more large companies who need STEM skilled employers are investing in developing innovative and creative programmes and projects which inspire the young generation in Wales. If this could develop and grow further, then the Wales Stem sector will undoubtedly be the winner.

What do you think could be done to help the STEM sector in Wales?

● Further investment at schools’ level with regards to engaging with companies in providing real life STEM experiences from KS2 upwards.

● National STEM Awards at Primary and Secondary School level.

● National STEM Leader Alumni which is available to access on HWB for teachers to use as inspirational and aspirational stimulus in the classroom.

● Pathways created from Secondary Schools to the STEM world of work through a fully funded further and higher education route.