The National STEM Centre's library
Over the years a number of Gatsby-supported programmes have resulted in successful large-scale national initiatives. Through carefully selected partnerships, we aim to deliver lasting outcomes in improved STEM education and career opportunities.
This country suffers an embarrassment of riches when it comes to schemes, prizes and other initiatives designed to support and promote STEM education and careers. All these initiatives are well intentioned, but they are often fragmented and only a minority secure the level of sustainable impact they are capable of. We believe there is benefit - to schools and colleges, resource and scheme providers, and often the public purse - in increasing coordination between the various initiatives.
We believe that private foundations like Gatsby should see part of their role as being, in some sense, a research and development arm of government. The caution needed when handling public funds can make it difficult for government agencies to back higher-risk proposals, even when they have significant potential for public benefit. For this reason we seek to support innovative projects in our education work. However, to secure lasting impact on a national scale, the lessons learned and outcomes of these proof-of-principle projects need to be shared with policy makers and opinion formers.
The National STEM Centre promotes collaboration across STEM education and houses the UK’s largest collection of STEM teaching & learning resources, allowing teachers online access to material previously only available in hard copy and is the recipient of one our largest education grants in support of education. The Centre, co-located with the National Science Learning Centre in York, houses the UK's largest accessible physical library of resource materials to support the teaching and learning of science, design & technology, engineering and mathematics.
The collections range across materials for the 5-19 age group, and include resources produced by government, learned societies, charitable foundations and commercial publishers. Alongside contemporary materials - including print, multimedia, and practical resources - is a growing archive collection which showcases several decades of curriculum development.
In addition to the library of resource materials, a key aim of the Centre is to facilitate and promote greater collaboration between the many organisations working in STEM education. To this end, alongside national and regional stakeholder events, the Centre offers on-site facilities (including meeting rooms, event support, and hot-desking space) for STEM partners to support their work with schools and colleges.
We have supported Engineering UK to run The Big Bang Fair since its outset in 2009 and in March 2015, Big Bang welcomed just over 68,000 visitors to The NEC, Birmingham. At its heart, The Big Bang is about careers and futures and highlighting the exciting possibilities that exist for young people with science, technology, engineering and maths backgrounds. It’s about the contribution they, with the right motivation, can make to the UK economy and to society in general.
To reach more young people, Gatsby has also supported the creation of smaller regional fairs held across the UK throughout the year. These offer young people the opportunity to experience hands-on learning outside the classroom, and insight into future STEM careers in the local area and beyond.
STEMNET (the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Network) creates opportunities to inspire young people in STEM. We provide support for STEMNET's network of regional advisors across the country that offer schools advice and support in delivering and managing the highly successful STEM Clubs initiative.
We have also supported STEMNET to create a new training module for STEM Ambassadors to provide them with the skills to do more practical work during their visits to schools. The ‘Powerful Practicals’ training was piloted and is now being rolled out across the UK.
We fund the Sainsbury Management Fellowship scheme, which enables engineers of high career potential to undertake full time MBA courses at world-class international business schools. Since 1987, the scheme has supported around 300 engineers.
The overall objective of the scheme is to improve the economic performance of UK engineering, manufacturing and construction businesses by providing a human resource of highly motivated engineers who have complemented their technical qualifications and skills with a first class business education in an international environment.
The scheme is managed by the Royal Academy of Engineering. Each year up to 10 engineers with exceptional academic qualifications and leadership qualities are selected to receive a £30,000 scholarship towards their MBA study at one of an approved list of prestigious business schools. These are, in North America: Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Wharton, Columbia, Kellogg and the University of Chicago; and in Europe: INSEAD and HEC in France, IMD in Switzerland, RSM in the Netherlands, IESE in Spain, SDA in Italy, and the London Business School.
An active alumni group - the Sainsbury Management Fellows' Society - for previous participants on the scheme means that Fellows have access to an impressive network of professional contacts as well as ongoing activities including networking events, courses, mentoring and career guidance. We provide core funding for the Society.
Good Career Guidance
Good career guidance is critical if young people are to raise their aspirations and capitalise on the opportunities available to them. We commissioned Sir John Holman to research what pragmatic actions could improve career guidance in secondary schools and we are piloting the recommendations with schools.