The Welsh Valleys Engineering Project (WVEP) is an exciting new engineering education programme established by the Royal Academy of Engineering. The Welsh Valleys have a long history of engineering and the Academy is keen to build on that heritage, supporting the untapped engineering potential within students in this area to build a skills base that will support many of the new engineering companies that are investing in South Wales. We have establishing a regional support programme that delivers focused STEM education support for students and teachers and provides career guidance to students. We see this as integral to transforming the community and breaking the cycle of low aspiration and culture that has affected this part of the country for far too long.

The project will be delivered through the generosity of the Panasonic Trust, and we are working in partnership with Engineering Education Scheme Wales/STEM Cymru and See Science and several education and skills partners.

The Welsh Valleys Engineering Project has been established as a fully funded, five year programme of STEM teacher CPD and student support activities which will provide STEM enhancement and enrichment opportunities to schools free of charge over a sustained period, to create an engineering ethos across schools and the local community. In partnership with Coleg Gwent and The College Merthyr Tydfil, we are reaching out to eight secondary schools and five primary schools across the Welsh valleys.

The Royal Academy of Engineering partnership approach draws together schools, colleges, employers, government and other key stakeholders to inspire and encourage more young people to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects in post-16 education. Our programmes enrich the curriculum, stimulate interest, and improve student attainment outcomes by bringing real-world engineering practice into the student experience. We are working to encourage more people, especially young women and those from socially disadvantaged backgrounds and other under-represented groups to progress towards engineering technicians and professional engineering roles in industry.

The Academy has over ten years’ experience of delivering high-impact regional support programmes. We currently run very successful engineering education projects in Barrow-in-Furness, Stoke-on-Trent, and Lowestoft, Suffolk which have seen more than 100,000 STEM learning opportunities being provided for young people since their launch. We are keen to replicate this success in the Welsh Valleys.

As part of the Welsh Valleys Engineering Programme, we will also aim to increase local employer engagement through the creation of an employer-schools partnership. The Academy’s other regional programmes have found this model to be particularly effective in engaging employers in supporting STEM education in schools.

Project aims

  • To build strong and enduring links between primary and secondary schools, further education colleges and partners in industry.
  • Supported by a local project coordinator, facilitating network meetings, project development with in-school coordinator, peer-to peer support and sharing good practice.
  • Funding to participate in established national activity programmes such as Tomorrow’s Engineers, Big Bang and the Year of Engineering.
  • Provide a yearly grant scheme for schools to support in-house delivery of STEM and engineering activities and collaborative projects.
  • Involvement in the Academy’s Visiting Teaching Engineers programme placing STEM professionals in teaching roles, building strong relations between colleges and employers.
  • Enrich the existing science and technology curriculum by providing 4,000 STEM learning opportunities for students each year.
  • Free access to high quality Academy STEM resources and associated teacher training to provide practical, hands-on activities for students.
  • Involvement in the Academy’s Visiting Teaching Engineers programme placing STEM professionals in teaching roles, building strong relations between colleges and employers.
  • Support and incentivise STEM students undertaking A-level or vocational/technical qualifications through a Scholarship Bursary Scheme.