A council committee has agreed to provide £10,000 of match funding to Sentinus to deliver its 2016-17 Innovation and R&D in Schools Programme across the borough.
A council report describes Sentinus as “one of the largest providers of business/education activity in the United Kingdom” which works with schools and colleges across the province to “promote engagement in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and to support the development of young people by enhancing life skills.”
It adds that this can help “support local industry by helping develop the innovators and business leaders of tomorrow.”
Focusing on young people aged eight to 17, the organisation runs “a programme of practical engagement focused on research and development, innovation and creative thinking in schools, with an emphasis on industrial links with local companies.”
Last year, Sentinus delivered its programmes to 34 schools in Mid and East Antrim, with a total of 1,904 pupils participating in its events.
Last year’s local programme featured several strands.
Pupils in Year 13 got involved in Team R&D, described as a “six-month programme engaging teams of four A Level students in real research and development projects within industry.”
Teams worked with their link company to produce solutions to real industrial problems.
Schoolkids in Years 8-10 got the chance to participate in the STEM R&D Challenge – Go4SET strand.
This saw schools link with Sentinus Ambassadors from local industry to research and develop innovative designs for sports facilities within their local community.
Pupils in years 6-14 were able to take part in the F1 in Schools Challenge, which saw teams research, design and build their own F1 racing
A one-day STEM Challenge Roadshow for years 6-10 was also delivered to primary and post primary schools in Mid and East Antrim.
A major celebration day, Big Bang Near Me @ The Braid, was held to recognise the pupils’ achievements and to allow them to attend science shows and interactive STEM workshops.
Proposing that council approve the spend, Cllr Timothy Gaston said that “innovation in young people is something that we should be getting behind.”
He was seconded by Cllr Billy Henry, who said the scheme was an “excellent programme.”