Helping to inspire more young people to develop skills and pursue science, technology, engineering and maths-related careers.

The Combined Authority is funding several projects which will prepare young people for the economic opportunities of the future.

Kielder Observatory school visits

Secondary schools, middle schools and Special Education Needs and Disability (SEND) schools have the opportunity to book a fully funded visit from the Kielder Observatory team.

The project includes: two experienced astronomers attending the school to run planetarium shows and workshops, provision of a telescope and tuition for hands-on learning, use of a dedicated website filled with activities and lesson plans, curated by Observatory staff and opportunities for feeder primary schools to get involved.

NTCA Heritage STEM: Our Past, Your Future – Woodhorn Museum and NUSTEM

A project working with first and primary schools to showcase to children, parents and teachers the links between the region’s industrial and creative traditions and highlight possible careers.

Activities in schools include workshops, teacher Continued Professional Development (CPD), loan boxes for nursery/reception, family story time and family workshops. A STEM club for up to 20 children took place during the 2021 school summer holidays.

The project will also deliver a three-day intensive short programme to three secondary schools which will invite professional practitioners to work directly with students through a project inspired by the interactive STEM map. It will bring together careers guidance and experience of a digital design process.

Inspire North of Tyne

‘Inspire North of Tyne’ is a fully funded project that contains a series of STEM and digital enrichment events open to all secondary school years across the NTCA area that will take place over the next 2 academic years. The project aims help schools meet the Gatsby Benchmarks by raising aspirations and providing opportunities to young people to develop skills for a successful career in digital and STEM industries through engagement with higher education and local businesses.

The digital and STEM landscape in the North East of England is rich in innovative and thriving businesses, all looking to create a local pipeline of talent. Through this project we will bridge the gap between education and industry. Furthermore, the project will engage with influencers of young people to ensure they support the education and career choices of young people.

This project is designed to support to “leaders of tomorrow” and ensure young people have the opportunity to develop skills and make industry connections. ‘Inspire North of Tyne’ looks to support young people’s engagement with STEM subjects, local skills partnerships and increase the proportion of young people with digital skills and help educators understand the digital skills required by the industry.


Connect is a family digital making project, developed and run by a partnership of the NUSTEM team at Northumbria University and the Life Science Centre. We’ll be running short courses in which you can join us to build your own fabulous creation. Your cardboard-engineered contraption can move and respond, but also (connected to wifi or your phone) react to all the other devices made by other families, across the region.

You might build a puppet or a scene, character or machine. Something simple or extravagant; silly or serious; expressive or useful; personally or as a group. We’ll provide the tools and materials, the expertise, and a base on which you can build. You bring your creativity, inspiration, and a willingness to try out different ideas until you find something which works, and that you find pleasing.

Connect workshops will run as short courses, for families with children of late primary age. They’ll run in schools, in community venues, and at the Life Science Centre, at intervals over three years. There’ll also be a classroom version of the workshop for Key Stage 2: a simplified activity which will explore ideas around computational thinking and also invite discussions around communities, our responsibilities to others, and online safety.

We invite expressions of interest from schools keen to host family workshop courses. We expect these typically to run as a series of 1-hour twilight sessions over a half term, or as more intensive roughly-half-day sessions.

The classroom activity will be supported by a CPD session and details will follow shortly.

The NTCA believes that sparking young people’s interest in STEM and digital skills is integral to our regions future economy.

Mayor Jamie Driscoll said:

“Kids have such great natural curiosity – and that’s the foundation of science, technology and engineering,

“The more we can fire their enthusiasm for a career in these industries, the stronger our future economy will be.”

To find out more about the projects and how to get involved follow the links below.