National HE STEM Programme
The National Higher Education STEM Programme is a three-year initiative funded by the Higher Education Funding Councils for England and Wales (HEFCE/HEFCW). It started in August 2009 and complete in July 2012. The Programme aims to increase and widen participation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and enhance the skills and knowledge base of the workforce in these areas. Although focused around the STEM subjects, it primarily concentrates its support on the disciplines of Chemistry, Engineering, Mathematics and Physics. There are however wider benefits to the STEM sector as a whole.
The Programme takes forward activities in three related strands:
- Activities to widen participation within the STEM disciplines at HE level amongst students of traditional age;
- HE curriculum developments focusing upon course delivery and design, student support, and knowledge and skills;
- Activities to encourage those currently within the workforce and society without a Level 4 qualification to engage in further study to develop enhanced knowledge and skills.
The National HE STEM Programme:
- adopts a holistic approach to increasing and widening participation amongst school-age students,
- examines the current undergraduate curriculum and explore the teaching of the critical STEM skills to ensure graduates of all ages are adequately prepared for their workplace,
- encourages Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) to engage with employers on a regional basis and develop flexible and tailored programmes of study to meet regional skills needs,
- delivers this programme in collaboration with six regional spokes, four professional bodies and their subject centers.
For more information, please visit the National HE STEM Programme main website.
The London Engineering Project (LEP)
The London Engineering Project (LEP) managed by The Royal Academy of Engineering (the Academy) was the pilot project for the engineering strand of this project. The National HE STEM programme take ideas, approaches and effective practice learnt thorough the LEP's work which are adopted and adapted for the needs of the HEIs involved with the National HE STEM Programme.
The LEP won an award at the London Education Partnership Awards on Monday, 7th June 2010 under the category Inspiring journeys: excellent professional practice in curriculum support for STEM. The LEP shone out as an example of a well-rounded partnership between universities, employers, third sector organisations, and primary and secondary schools, which delivered improvements across all phases to widen participation in engineering in higher education.
Role of The Royal Academy of Engineering in National HE STEM Programme
The Royal Academy of Engineering is leading the engineering strand of the project building on the effective practice of the LEP. It supports the National HE STEM programme through collaborations with the HEIs to encourage the exploration of new approaches to recruiting students and delivering programmes of study in engineering. It enables the transfer of good practice across the HE STEM sector, facilitates its wider adoption, and encourages innovation. The Programme does not seek to undertake short-term interventions, but focuses upon sustainable activities with the potential to achieve long-term impact within the Higher Education sector.
The Royal Academy of Engineering's Education Programmes
The Royal Academy of Engineering also runs programmes that work nationally in England and Wales, for further details of this activity please go to National Engineering Programme on the Royal Academy's website.