Inspirational STEM events for the skills force of the future

Wednesday 26 June 2024

Year 9 pupils from across the Borough had the opportunity to participate in two exciting days of STEM activities at The Braid in Ballymena and Larne Leisure Centre - as part of an ambitious STEM Ambassador Programme.

Pupils from (L-R) Ballymena Academy and St. Patrick’s College at Ryobi Workshop, 18 June

Funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), students had the opportunity to try first hand, a number of engaging and thought-provoking workshops facilitated by some of the Borough’s key employers including Ryobi Aluminium Casting (UK) Ltd., Caterpillar, Wright Bus, IPC Mouldings, Kilwaughter Minerals and GES.

In addition, pupils also had the chance to engage and learn through immersive workshops led by STEM Partners including Space Office NI, the Nerve Centre, STEM NI and the Royal Academy of Engineering.

As schools break for the summer, the two STEM events in June completes the student engagement element of the programme.  Throughout April, May and June the ambitious programme has engaged with over 300 young people in Year 9 in post primary schools throughout Mid and East Antrim.  Schools participating in this fully funded initiative include Cullybackey College, Ballymena Academy, Slemish College, Larne High School, Larne Grammar School, Dunclug College, Castle Tower and St. Patrick’s College.

In addition to the STEM events, and through collaboration with local employers and STEM partners, the participating schools have each received a number of workshops delivered on site, minimising disruption to the school timetable.  The sessions were led by inspirational facilitators who each showcased in their own fascinating way how STEM enriches our everyday lives.

The programme will culminate in August with an insight day for career teachers of local post primary schools. This will provide them with an opportunity to meet key employers and learn about career opportunities, pathways and roles within their organisation in the hope that relationships will be formed between schools - ensuring a secure a pipeline of local talent in the borough.

The STEM Ambassador Programme’s overarching aim is to enable all young people in the UK to engage and connect with STEM research and innovation - whatever their background. A dedicated funding stream was established by UKRI to encourage focus on a more targeted range of interventions for young people where there is most need. 

Guided by the Regional STEM Advisory Group, twelve regions across the UK received awards, with Mid and East Antrim being the only area to receive funding in Northern Ireland. The aim of the awards is to engage STEM Ambassadors in impactful sustained engagement to support young people with the most need locally.

For more information on the initiative and engagement opportunities, email: