Each year the Millennium Point Trust funds an undergraduate degree at BCU’s Faculty of Computing, Engineering, and the Built Environment.

To celebrate the Scholarship’s 10th year, we are speaking to some of the previous winners to revisit their winning moments.

2023’s winner Safa is the latest winner who impressed judges on the assessment day

Safa was studying Applied Science at South and City College, she developed an interest in the computing world in secondary school and was further inspired by speeches from women in STEM. Now at BCU we caught up with her to see how her first term went!

‘University life as a Computer Science student has become a transformative experience. Embracing a multitude of coding projects, from creating efficient algorithms to developing practical applications, and provided a hands-on understanding of the diverse aspects of the field’.

Continuing on her Scholarship Safa says ‘Overall, the Scholarship has not only paved the way for academic success but has also enriched my university experience by providing a progressive and collaborative environment. I’m excited to continue this journey, exploring new challenges and developing technologies in the field of Computer Science’.

Asima won in 2021 and is well into her STEM story

Asima was studying Social Science and Humanities before scoring top spot in the Scholarship finalists.

Asima remembers why applying for the Scholarship was so important to her. ‘The reason I applied for the Scholarship was because it was an opportunity that stood out. It’s your entire undergraduate degree that has been paid for. I was thinking how lucky I would have been if that was done for me. And I went for it because I had nothing to lose and an opportunity to gain’.

Continuing she wants to promote and help others get into STEM. ‘When I won the Scholarship, I felt so lucky, happy, and very overwhelmed that I was chosen. As well as having the degree paid for, I was also given a platform from the Millennium Point Trust which would help me reach out and try and help and guide others too as a STEM ambassador’.

Laura’s ‘dream come true’ when she secured her Scholarship in 2019

Laura who went on to study Film Production Technology beat over 100 applicants in the record breaking year. Looking back Laura realised by spending a little time on her application, it started her on the path to winning the Scholarship.

‘Sparing a little of my time to fill in the application in return for what could be a big opportunity was an obvious choice that I knew I couldn’t let pass by. The Scholarship is open to everyone, and that really inspired me to apply because there were no expectations other than having a passion for the course I had already applied for’.

‘I  think the Scholarship is a brilliant scheme that extends beyond the funding – I was supported to build so much confidence during the process and it was great that at that age a very shy person such as myself was given a chance to share my love for my subject and demonstrate it’s importance. I’m sure all the other candidates feel the same way’.

 

 

Dudley College of Technology has revealed its brand new STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) hub, that will enhance education and accessibility within the community. The project, funded by Millennium Point has transformed an existing space which the college had outgrown into a dynamic space fostering innovation and creativity in students.

Nestled beneath Dudley Castle, the renovation of the current Design & Technology room, formerly an elephant house, is a result of collaboration between dedicated staff and students, and the financial aid provided by Millennium Point Charitable Trust. Approximately £17,500 of the total grant has funded the purchase of a wide array of cutting-edge equipment, including a 3D scanner compatible with 3D printers, height-adjustable workbenches, a laser cutter, and an F24 Greenpower kit-car. This array of tools is designed to cater to learners of all abilities and empower an inclusive educational environment.

Part of the Millennium Point funding will also enhance the STEM library, making it a valuable resource for local Dudley Academies Trust (DAT) schools and the broader community. This vision extends to Brierley Hill’s Inspired Art and Design Centre, which is under consideration as a dual site for the STEAM Hub, offering specialised support for students with SEN.

The iZone, Dudley College’s upcoming purpose-built engineering block, is another integral part of this project. Boasting a laser cutter and an existing printer, the iZone epitomises the high-tech aspirations of the STEAM hub initiative.

Adrian Eynon, Product Design lecturer at Dudley College of Technology, said: “Product Design is very much a traditional craft-based subject, but we’re wanting to modernise and move into a technological future with laser cutters and 3D printing, which will prepare students for the world they’ll experience in the industry. The investment will massively increase the quality and standard of the students’ work, and that quality will translate to their confidence.”

Abbie Vlahakis, CEO of Millennium Point, added: “I am immensely proud of our collaboration with Dudley College of Technology and establishing the Universal Access STEAM Hub. This project underlines our mission to promote STEAM education, and we hope it will serve as a cornerstone for educational excellence, and inspiration for the local community.”

Set to welcome its first students in early 2024, the Universal Access STEAM Hub marks a significant milestone in the college’s history.  This transformative educational environment is set to inspire not only the current crop of learners, but also future generations.

In light of our recent scholarship application launch, we understand that finding the motivation to apply can be challenging. However, let these stories of these talented professionals serve as inspiration for you to embark into the world of STEM and push yourself to achieve new heights.

Annie Easley – The Human Computer

At the time, Easley was looking for a job after relocating when she discovered an article about two sisters who were “human computers” at the Aircraft Engine Research Laboratory in Cleveland, Ohio. Two weeks later, after the reading the article, Easley began her career that spanned across 34 years, contributing to numerous programs as a computer scientist.

Easley’s career involved analysing problems and solving complexed mathematical calculations by hand, awarding her with the title of human computer. Easley would go on to break barriers for women and people of colour, inspiring them to pursue STEM opportunities.

Gitanjali Rao – American’s Top Youngest Scientist 2017

Inspired by the Flint Michigan water crisis, Rao invented a life-changing device that can detect lead in water at the age of 11. Rao’s dedication to her work earned her a place in the 2019 Forbes 30 under 30. In recent years, Rao has been taking part in the research of cell biology at the University of Colorado, using the latest genetic engineering to find a solution to prescription opioid addiction epidemic.

Rao is an active STEM ambassador, inspiring young people by promoting STEM-based activities in schools and the community. Rao continues to affect students globally by sharing her knowledge, tools, and encouragement.

Morris Mbetsa – Africa’s First Flying Taxi

Morris, a self-taught engineer, created an innovative solution to Africa’s traffic and poor road infrastructure issues. At the age of 28, Morris manufactured Africa’s first flying taxi. This drone transports passengers for around 25 minutes, and at speeds of up to 120km an hour. The young entrepreneur uses his talents to generate easy-to-use, inexpensive technological solutions that are accessible to his community.

At the young age of 6, Morris discovered his passion for technology, as he has stated on The Kenyan network K24, “Technology is my life. I never watched football while growing up. My room was full of electronics and wires.”

Ronjon Nag – Smartphone Pioneer

Shortly after becoming a newly graduate, Nag invented breakthrough technology for smart devices such as handwriting recognition, predictive text, application of speech recognition and touch screens for mobile devices. He later went on to become the founder of R42 institute, a US and UK-based company that invents and invests in AI and Biotech.

Nag has gone to work with big names such as Apple, BlackBerry, and Motorola after becoming a technological pioneer. As well as becoming a ground-breaking entrepreneur, Nag was also a professor in Genetics at the Stanford School of Medicine, committed to providing inclusive and accessible education.

Jocelyn Bell Burnell – Beyond the Stars

Whilst studying at the University of Glasgow, Burnell discovered pulsars, the cosmic sources of peculiar radio pulses. After graduating, she frequently worked in gamma ray, X-ray, infrared and millimetre wavelength astronomy. In 2015, Burnell was awarded a Royal Medal by the Royal Society and became the first female President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

After winning a breakthrough prize, Burnell donated all the proceedings to the institute of Physics to set up scholarships for graduates and those in under-represented communities to have access to study physics.

Are you Interested in a Career in STEM?

We hope these stories have truly inspired you and encourage you to achieve greatness. If you have any questions about our Scholarship scheme, you can contact our friendly Trust team.

This year’s scholarship applications are now open for applicants to embark on a new educational journey into the world of STEM. In partnership with Birmingham City University (BCU), each year Millennium Point Trust fund an undergraduate degree at the Faculty of Computing, Engineering, and the Built Environment facility.

Our scholarship programme has over 20 courses to choose from. Applications are now open, with a deadline of Friday 8th March 2024 at 5pm, allowing you plenty of time to complete your application.

Meet Safa Bibi, last year’s Scholarship winner

Safa Bibi from Small Health was studying Applied Science at South and City College, Birmingham and is now studying a degree in Computer Science at Birmingham City University as of September 2023. Safa’s passion for computer science and inspiration drawn from women in STEM encouraged her to apply for our scholarship program. With the support of Millennium Point Trust, Safa now studies the subject she is deeply passionate about.

Safa states, “Winning the scholarship has made me feel seen and heard by more than just my community of family and friends, so I feel like I can do more and achieve more. I hope that me winning the scholarship empowers other women and ethnic minorities to start applying for scholarships and these roles in STEM.”

Applying is easy and simple

The competition is open to you if you are 18 by, and looking to start an undergraduate degree in September 2024 and live within the West Midlands Combined Authority.

Read the application form carefully and start to answer each question. Think about why you want to study your chosen degree and what you want to do in the future. Also discuss any personal attributes and skills that could help you be the next winner of the Scholarship.

The application has two-stages, with the final stage being an assessment day in May. Finalists will be invited to participate in developmental workshops that will focus on supporting our personal development and professionalism in both interview and presentation skills.

We are here to help you every step of the way

We want everyone to have the best chance of success when applying for our scholarship scheme, so it is important to be confident when writing your application. That’s why we have created a helpful guide to aid throughout your application. Keep an eye out on our social media channels as well as our website for blogs, videos for additional resources to further assist you.

You can always contact our friendly Trust team for any other enquires you may have.

Apply today for a life-changing opportunity

Our applications are now open with the deadline on Friday 15th March 2024 at 5pm, so apply now and start your journey into the world of STEM.

Trinity High School & Sixth Form Centre in Redditch has marked the grand opening of its brand new STEM room, a cutting-edge facility that is revolutionising the way students engage with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects. The project, funded by Millennium Point’s STEM grants programme, has transformed a once-neglected space into a vibrant hub for innovation, creativity, and hands-on learning.

The STEM room, located at the heart of the school’s Creative and Technical Faculty, is the result of a collaborative effort between dedicated staff members, enthusiastic students, and the invaluable financial assistance provided by the Millennium Point Charitable Trust. The project saw the conversion of a previously unused and unloved space, into a state-of-the-art facility designed to inspire and empower future engineers, designers, and scientists.

The new space serves as a classroom, computer suite, and rapid prototyping room equipped with a laser cutter and 3D printers. Students have access to industry-standard software like Fusion 360, allowing them to design, create, and witness their ideas come to life. The room accommodates up to 25 students and is currently being used for GCSE Engineering classes, computer science lessons, and after-school STEM club activities. The room has also welcomed visits from middle school students as part of their transition programmes and supports art classes and 3D jewellery design.

Nigel Ford, Headteacher of Trinity High School & Sixth Form Centre, said: “We are immensely grateful to Millennium Point for its invaluable contribution, which has not only enhanced the educational experience but also revitalised a neglected space to breathe life into our STEM subjects. By introducing real-world technology to our students, they can now develop their design ideas and witness them materialise before their eyes. It’s truly astonishing to see their enthusiasm and pride in their accomplishments.”

Abbie Vlahakis, CEO of Millennium Point, said: “We are delighted to have played a role in transforming Trinity High School & Sixth Form Centre’s STEM room into a vibrant and innovative space for learning. This initiative perfectly aligns with our mission to promote STEM education and empower the next generation of innovators. Trinity High School’s dedication to this project has been commendable, and we are delighted to have played a part in making this vision a reality.”

A special plaque unveiling ceremony took place on December 5th, 2023, to formally open the new STEM space. The ceremony was attended by school staff, students and representatives from Millennium Point.

Read more about Millennium Point Trust Grants here.

Applications for our charitable Trust STEM Grants programme are now open!

Our grants are available from £1,000 to £20,000 to individual applicants to support science, technology, engineering & maths (STEM) education in Birmingham and the wider region. Applications close at 5pm on Friday 8th December 2023, meaning you have got just under a month to apply. You can apply here.

We want everyone to have the best chance of success. That’s why we have put some useful tips below.

A good plan is half the work done

To get started, complete the form that can be easily downloaded from our website. Have a read through all the sections and start to complete them in as much detail as you can as this will help us when our team begin to shortlist applications.

Clearly plan what the aims of the project and how those aims will be achieved. Don’t forget to include details on how the success of the project will be measured. This is where using ‘SMART’ objectives will be useful.

Make sure your application is detailed with what activities will take place, when, and where they will be carries out will also help chances of being successful. Have a look through your budget plan and ensure it contained the correct pricing and quantities for everything you need to achieve your project.

When talking about your project look at the link between the project and the selected category choice. Make sure the connection is clear to show why you’re doing the project and how it will benefit your chosen group. Also plan about the duration of the project, will it be throughout the year, or could the project be done in a day? Can the project be repeated with the resources bought, or is it a one-off project?

For extra help the guidance and FAQ pages will help you with your application, you can always contact our friendly Trust team too STEMgrants@millenniumpoint.org.uk.

Submitting your application or grants

Have a read through your final application, ensure that it’s clear, precise and explains all about the exciting project you have planned.

After you have decided you’re happy with your application, submit it to us by email – STEMgrants@millenniumpoint.org.uk. Make sure you send it in before the 5pm on 8th December 2023.

What happens next?

Once it’s sent over, out fantastic Trust team will send you an email acknowledging receipt, you won’t hear from us again until a decision has been made. All applications will be read through by the Grants team and then moderated by a separate panel. It will finally be presented to our Trustees who will make the final decision on the successful applicants. At this stage you don’t have to do anything but wait for the good news!

Our grants help make STEM happen!

Over the past five years, the Millennium Point Charitable Trust has awarded over £2 million to charities, not-for-profits, community groups and schools to further STEM education. Millennium Point Charitable Trust has previously seen the rewarding outcome of past projects such as designing the perfect community at Lyng Primary School and Sandwell College going 3D.

Last year Millennium Point Trust saw 100 applications from not-for-profit organisations in aim of receiving a share of the grant money.

 

Background

Sandwell College is the largest provider of 16-19 year old study programmes in the West Midlands. Their mission is to ensure that every young person has the opportunity to reach their full potential, achieving a successful career in their chosen field.

Aim of the project

The aim of the project was to set up a 3D Immersive Learning Lab, introducing exciting, engaging and innovative STEM-related learning projects across the colleges curriculum, using emerging technologies such as virtual reality programming.

A series of workshops will be run to inspire students to become more engaged in STEM, promoting careers through virtual reality workplace tours, connecting with those who previously might not of seen STEM careers.

What impact has it made?

The project has begun with great success, giving students a fantastic insight into 3D modelling and virtual reality activities around STEM.

The college has partnered with Cadbury College in Kings Norton to use some of their facilities to host the equipment for students.

Through the use of iPads and VR, the students have taken part in a number of exciting activities to enhance their STEM learning. These include entering new worlds and visualising scientific concepts and diagrams, such as life-sized DNA structures.

They have also tested out Augmented Reality Cubes, which combined with a VR headset allows the students to hold the cube and they visualise holographic 3D models (such as engines, the human brain and CAD drawings) in the palm of their hands. As they rotate these around they can view them from all angles.

Moving forward the college are looking to attract more students to study STEM courses, using the equipment to engage them in a fun and effective way.

Get involved with Millennium Point Trust

Our multi-award-winning charitable trust invests more than £3m each year towards furthering STEM education within the West Midlands.

Over the years we have provided funding to Scholarships, Grants, and projects that benefit the region. Find out more about our Trust and see how you can get involved here.

Exhibitions are a great way to show off your products or skills, while being able to network and meet new potential clients. They’re also a great way to reach new audiences and boost sales.

Due to this we’ve put together a few tips to help you plan your next event.

How to plan an exhibition 

Art exhibitions are successful when planned carefully. This includes creating a visual plan and focusing on your marketing. When planning an exhibition you should consider:

If you’re looking to plan a trade show you want to make sure you fully promote your unique selling point (USP). When planning your show you want to think about:

Other things to consider include:

The venue 

Your venue determines the number of guests and exhibitors you can have at your event. You also want to make sure you choose a venue that reinforces the image you want to portray. 

Marketing

When planning an exhibition you need to consider how much money and effort you will need to put toward marketing. This will include marketing to exhibitors and attendees to persuade them on why they should attend/take part. 

Are you going to include any special guests?

Guest speakers are great for conducting seminars or talks . This can provide great talking points throughout the exhibition helping to boost networking and increase your clientele list. 

How are attendees going to get there?

When looking for a venue it’s important that you book somewhere that has easy access, transport links and parking. This will help increase attendee numbers as they’re more likely to attend if they can get there easily. 

Why host an exhibition in Birmingham? 

There are many benefits to hosting an exhibition in Birmingham, such as it having great access to transport links. There are many bus and train routes, as well as Birmingham airport being a short distance from the city centre for those travelling internationally. 

There’s also a wide range of hotel options to choose from to suit all budgets. This is especially useful if you have people travelling long distances.

Furthermore, Birmingham has loads of cultural spots to offer, such as museums and galleries, which is especially great if you’re holding an art exhibition as this will further emphasise the event you’re holding. 

Another great reason for holding your exhibition in Birmingham is the large number of businesses in the area. This poses great opportunities to increase attendance and further boost networking and future client opportunities.

Why choose Millennium Point to host your exhibition?

Millennium Point is situated right in the city centre of Birmingham near Moor Street and New Street station, as well as having lots of bus routes nearby. Those travelling by plane can also go straight from Birmingham International station to New Street station in just a couple of minutes, making it an ideal location to hold your next exhibition.

Hosting your exhibition at Millennium Point is also a great option as it’s close to various hotels like the Clayton Hotel, meaning attendees don’t need to travel far before and after the exhibition ends.

Millennium Point is also introducing 6 new spaces located next to the Auditorium that are perfect for training, presentation and exhibition purposes. If you’re looking for a space to hold smaller training events or presentations then our Curzon rooms 1-5 are perfect for you. However, if you’re looking for a larger space then our Curzon Suite might be a better option for you. 

Get in touch with us today to discover what room is perfect for you.

Background

Wood End Primary School aims to inspire confidence, happy, resilient learners who strive to be the best they can be through an engaging curriculum delivered in an inclusive environment.

They strive for positive partnerships between school, parents and their community and a shared understanding of their aims, being approachable, authentic, and honest.

Aim of the project

The school wanted to purchase Lego Spike Kits, with enough for a whole class  to work in pairs to create and program moving models.

They wanted a project that would help the pupils develop a love of engineering and computing, alongside an appreciation of how these skills are used in the world around them. From this the children would see the impact of STEM and the career options available to them.

What impact has it made?

The club has started with great success. The pupils have already made and controlled various  Lego  structures – such as carousels. The club also has a great intake of female pupils, who are traditionally underrepresented in the field, and are interested in learning how to code.

On some sessions, the school branched out invites to the pupils’ parents to join in.

One parent from the session said ‘STEM’s important to children’s education because it gives them a big scope of careers when they’re older’.

Their first project was how to program a space rover to move and detect an object. At the beginning, the pupils will explore the purpose of a rover looking at real life examples of Mars rover and the engineers who have created them. They then went on to build and control a rover including a motion and tilt sensor and programmed the model using coding and debugging.

After the initial project, the pupils will launch the design and make competition on how to find solutions to solve ‘real life’ problems. Along with parent workshops, they will also invite people from the industry to talk about their STEM career choice and have Q&A sessions with the pupils. Parents will also be invited to judge the winner of the competition.

Get involved with Millennium Point Trust

Our multi-award-winning charitable trust invests more than £3m each year towards furthering STEM education within the West Midlands.

Over the years we have provided funding to Scholarships, Grants, and projects that benefit the region. Find out more about our Trust and see how you can get involved here.

 

STEM education is an important part of a school’s curriculum and has a huge impact on the way that children learn and develop.

This blog will explore everything you need to know about STEM education and learning, to help raise awareness of its importance and encourage others to implement it.

What is STEM? 

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and maths. However, rather than teaching the subjects separately, STEM education uses a combined approach to encourage and better equip students to consider careers within the industry. 

Why is STEM important?

STEM is important in teaching children the skills that are essential to their development. 

With the constant improvements and new developments in technology, it is becoming more important for children to learn skills such as computer programming and computational thinking as well as media literacy. 

Furthermore, STEM encourages children to ask questions and solve real world problems, helping to prepare them for later education and adult life. 

Benefits of STEM

STEM education has many benefits for children, such as:

Encourages creativity

STEM education encourages creativity and innovation, allowing new technologies, solutions and ideas to emerge. 

The teaching of STEM not only helps children’s development and learning but also helps the population and planet to develop as well.

Builds resilience

The teaching of STEM allows students to experiment and experience failure. Due to this, children become resilient through learning to get back up and try again. 

Promotes teamwork

STEM education doesn’t split children apart because of their varying education levels. Instead, it encourages children of all levels to work together to learn and develop new skills, while building a community that’s willing to learn new things.

Encourages use of technology

STEM teaches the power of technology and innovation, helping children learn various technologies. This will also promote adaptability, allowing children to take on challenges head on rather than hesitating or worrying about changes.

Impacts of early STEM education

Early STEM education helps children build various important skills that they may otherwise miss if they weren’t taught it.

Benefits of early STEM education include:

Hands on experience

It would be a mistake to think that STEM education only focuses on equations and complex experiments. It also focuses on hands-on experiences, providing a gateway into subjects like maths and science. 

Early STEM teaching could include things like making paper aeroplanes or building a rocket out of recycled materials. This helps to embed creative, problem solving and ideation skills, allowing children to further develop throughout education.

Memory retention

Teaching STEM at an early age can help children improve their memory retention. STEM education has a typical retention rate of 80-90% whereas traditional education only has a 5% retention rate.

Building children’s memory retention as early as possible gives them a great headstart when it comes to learning and developing throughout their education. 

Language development 

STEM education can help children’s language development. This will help increase vocabulary and help improve children’s conversational skills, while helping them learn a new subject.

Collaborative education

Many STEM activities involve collaborative learning, encouraging children to work as a team and develop conversational and explanatory skills. 

Prepares them for higher education

All of the skills children learn in early STEM education prepares them with skills needed for higher education. 

Instilling curiosity and creativity will also encourage children to study STEM subjects in further education and develop future careers.  

How can parents implement STEM in early childhood?

STEM education can be easily implemented into a child’s daily routine. This can be done through:

How to implement STEM into the school curriculum

STEM education is essential for children’s learning and development, which is why it needs to be implemented into schools’ curriculum more often. Stem education can be taught in a variety of ways, such as:

Project based learning

This involves children working on a project for a specific period of time where they can learn new skills and apply their knowledge to solve a problem. Teachers should allow children to take full control of the project, which could involve building a model bridge or designing an app.

Inquiry based learning

Inquiry based learning encourages students to ask as many questions as they like relating to the subject they’re learning. This helps them develop critical thinking, questioning and problem solving skills.

This is another student led learning practice that involves teachers prompting reflection and curiosity.

How to engage students in STEM

Currently, STEM industries have a small number of graduates, however a lack of diversity is an even bigger issue for the industry.

So how can we engage more students in STEM to help reduce the diversity gap and increase the number of STEM graduates?

Diversity and inclusion

Research shows that after GCSEs only 35% of female students decide to carry on studying STEM subjects, with only 25% of females carrying on with it after university. 

To encourage more females to study STEM subjects we could:

To learn more about the gender gap in STEM and what can be done to help close it, read our blog.

Tips for teachers

Introducing STEM focussed lessons into the curriculum can be slightly daunting. That’s why we’ve written a few tips to help those teaching STEM lessons.

What is Millennium Point doing to support STEM education?

The STEM round table was created by The Millennium Point Charitable Trust to bring together STEM industries, primary and secondary education, further education and not-for-profits in STEM sectors. 

The working group aims:

Get in touch with our Trust Team today to see how you can get involved in supporting the growth of STEM education.