Winning category: STEM Educational Programme of the Year (Private Sector)

Brief description of business:

M-SParc was established to ignite ambition and innovation for a sustainable Wales, diversifying the local economy, creating well-paid careers, and providing support for businesses to grow. It does this by supporting over 70 businesses in the science and tech sector, housed in the M-SParc building and based regionally within its ecosystem.

Ultimately, M-Sparc work hard every day to create well paid careers, supporting more Welsh speakers and women into industry, and creating an innovative future for North Wales.

Along with these well-paid jobs, M-Sparc works to close the ‘skills gap’ in the region highlighting the opportunities available in North Wales. This led to the creation of ‘Skill-SParc’, a comprehensive STEM programme for children and young people, building the skills they need and supporting them into well paid opportunities in the region. In turn this supports the companies here looking for skilled workers, ensures they remain in the region, and add to the economy.

Why they deserved to win their category:

Menai Science Park (M-Sparc) won STEM Educational Programme of the Year (Private Sector) for its Skill-Sparc programme – designed to encourage primary and secondary school children to learn about possible careers within STEM.

Skill-SParc is a series of lessons delivered in primary and secondary schools which has been mapped out against the new curriculum for Wales, tested and developed within schools and industry to ensure it delivers the direct skills required for local STEM careers, and are delivered through the Welsh language by skilled educators. Topics learnt within the programme include Energy, Digital, Creative-Digital, and Entrepreneurial skills. M-Sparc aim to provide children with up to ten opportunities to engage with its STEM programme whilst they go through the school system and are working towards ensuring these get formally acredited so that they can prove they are workplace-ready.

The Skills Academy then gives people aged 18+ the chance to work in industry for 6 months, with M-Sparc. These could be graduates, those who don’t want to go on to high education, or those wanting to train in the workplace. Hands-on experiences mean that individuals are workplace ready and skilled in their area at the end of the 6-month programme.

How does the individual, business or organisation further the STEM sector in Wales?

M-Sparc partner with various STEM organisations, higher education, primary schools, and local authorities to ensure it remains part of a coherent skills programme for North West Wales.

Its Skill-SParc programme fits into many of the Welsh and UK government’s skills policies, as well as regional skills policies.

It ensures that STEM is championed and promoted in the region, and through its programmes empowers the local community to take advantage of the STEM opportunities and careers regionally as they arrise.

M-SParc are changing the STEM sector, so that North West Wales becomes synonymous with innovation, and the STEM Sector can thrive.