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.

Scholarships often include interview stages to allow the scholarship body to get to know you further. Due to this, it’s important to prepare for any questions that may be asked. This will help you be as successful as possible.  

This blog will explore commonly asked interview questions and provide you with possible answers.

1. Tell us about yourself

This question is a great way for the interviewer to learn more about you as a person, as well as allowing you to establish why you deserve the scholarship over anyone else. You can start off with general information about yourself, but should use specifics later on, such as talking about your skillset and any experience that sets you apart. 

Example answer: I’m really interested in the way in which things work, which is why I have chosen to undertake a degree in engineering. I’ve already undertaken work experience at a local car garage learning the basics of engineering, which helped me develop problem solving and organisational skills.

2. Why did you choose this scholarship? 

Your response should highlight your passion for your degree and how the scholarship will help with your future. 

Example answer: I chose this scholarship because it will help me achieve my future academic and career goals. The scholarship will support me throughout my degree enabling me to develop a career in engineering where I can focus on creating innovative solutions that will help people in the future. 

3. Why do you deserve this scholarship?

Use this as an opportunity to be honest about your intentions within your degree, scholarship and future career. This is also another chance to let the interviewer get to know you more. 

Example answer: I’m particularly interested in cyber security and with technology constantly being improved and cyber attacks being more likely, it’s urgent that new cyber crime solutions are found. This scholarship will not only help me through my university journey financially but will help me find new ways to protect people.

4. What has been your greatest achievement?

Talk about a significant achievement or project you’ve worked on and why it’s important to you.

Example answer: Last year I worked on a fundraising project that helped raise money for those affected by homelessness. This resonated with me, as I want to try and make as big of an impact as possible on people’s lives, whether this is within my degree or outside of it.

Other questions could include:

How to answer interview questions

As the saying goes, by failing to prepare you prepare to fail. Answering interview question can be fairly easy once you’ve completed the following steps:

Always practice!

Practising your interview answers can go a long way. For example, it can help you feel more confident during your interview, allowing you to make the best possible first impression. 

However, you don’t want to memorise your answers as this will feel unnatural and will appear obvious to the interviewer.

Do your research

Researching the scholarship body to understand their values and goals is extremely important as it will allow you to tailor your answers. Taking note of eligibility criteria will also allow you to highlight areas you apply to, demonstrating why you’re a great candidate.

Consider using the STAR method

Using the STAR method allows you to cover all areas, helping you give the best possible answers.

The STAR method stands for:

Millennium Point Charitable Trust’s scholarship

Our Charitable Trust has partnered with Birmingham City University to provide a fully funded undergraduate degree at their Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment. 

Your scholarship application is the first point of contact you have with the scholarship body. The decision on whether you progress to the next level is solely based on your application, making it imperative that you write the best application possible. 

To help ensure success, we’ve put together 5 tips to help you write a great scholarship application.

Check you’re eligible

Before writing your application, you want to make sure you’re actually eligible, as you don’t want to waste time applying to scholarships you’re not eligible for.

Eligibility criteria will also give you an idea of the goals the scholarship is trying to meet and the value they want to provide. They also give you a good idea on whether you’re likely to receive the scholarship and what information you should include in your application.

To learn more about what you can do before writing your application, read our blog.

Write an introduction 

Including an opening paragraph in your application will allow you to showcase why you should receive the scholarship you’re applying to. 

Your introduction should include information about you, such as:

When describing yourself you should discuss your educational background and your passion behind your chosen degree. 

Outline your academic interests and academic goals

Due to scholarships being an investment in students’ futures, it is important to give the board the opportunity to understand how the scholarship will help you in the present and the future, as they like to understand the impact it will have on your goals.

Furthermore, scholarships are often awarded to financially support students through their academic journey, highlighting the need for you to demonstrate the passion you have for your degree as well as your future academic goals.

When writing your application you basically want to highlight why you should be awarded the scholarship over anyone else. Discussing what you plan to do post education can help cement your passion for your academic subject to the scholarship board, increasing your chances of being successful.

Proofread your application

It’s so important to proofread your application before your submission, whether this is completed by you, someone else or both. Getting a second pair of eyes on your application is always beneficial as it will help you pick out any mistakes or areas of improvements you can make.

This will help to strengthen your application and increase your chances of receiving the scholarship.x

Scholarship application template

[Full Name]

[Phone number] [Email address]

Dear [Scholarship review committee]

I’m applying to this scholarship because [include details about how the scholarship offering body aligns with your views and goals] [You can also talk about your current educational experience, for example are you currently studying a degree or are you planning on studying a degree in the future] 

During my education and/or work experience I gained skills such as… through undertaking tasks like… [Discuss significant academic or personal achievements that have given you skills that relate to the scholarship you’re applying to]

I have a passion for [degree name] as it has impacts on… The scholarship will help me achieve goals like… [solidify your motivations for applying and passions for your degree to] 

Thank you for taking the time to consider my application. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Best regards,

[Full name]

[Signature] 

Millennium Point Charitable Trust’s Scholarship

If you’re looking to study a STEM subject at university, you could benefit from our scholarship. We have partnered with Birmingham City University to offer one person a fully funded university undergraduate degree every year. 

You could be eligible if:

To find out more about our scholarship, visit our website today.

Due to university being so expensive, scholarships are a great way to support students through their university journey. The financial aid scholarships provide to students can also open the door to higher education for those in underrepresented and underprivileged positions.

Many people dismiss applying to scholarships, as they don’t think that they’ll be eligible, however you could be surprised as they can be awarded for various reasons. 

Here are 5 tips to help you nail your scholarship application.

What is a scholarship 

Scholarships are usually provided by universities or third parties who offer financial aid for students to help them accelerate their career. One of the major benefits of this is that students don’t need to pay the money back, relieving them of some of the financial burdens that come along with university.

Read our complete guide to scholarships to learn more.

Types of scholarship

As stated previously, there are various types of scholarships that you may be eligible for, making it important for you to do your research. 

Types of scholarships can include:

To learn more, read our complete guide to scholarships blog.

Shop around

Instead of applying to any and every scholarship out there, it’s best to look around first to find a few that apply to you best. You may be surprised at how many scholarships you’re eligible for and therefore you want to keep your options open, by collating the best scholarships for you before applying to any.

Application processes can be lengthy and you don’t want to waste your time applying to ones you don’t want or have slim chances of getting due to your eligibility. 

Looking around allows you to find the scholarships that suit you best, giving you the opportunity to put your best effort into the application process, showing that you want to win rather than rushing through multiple applications and not giving sufficient answers. 

Check eligibility criteria

Checking the eligibility criteria of a scholarship before applying is extremely important as you don’t want to waste valuable time on applications you definitely won’t be successful in.

Furthermore, checking eligibility criteria will allow you to apply for scholarships that will provide real value to you and provide you with the support you need.

What are the timelines?

Keeping on top of scholarship deadlines is key to being successful in the application process. Scholarships can also have multiple deadlines, such as application and interview deadlines that you need to keep an eye on.

Furthermore, understanding deadlines allows you to plan a head for any documents or information you may need to provide in the future.

Understanding deadlines also allows you to spend as much time as you need filling out your application without the need to rush, helping you to write a winning submission.

Tailor your application

Tailoring your application to the scholarship you’re applying to will have a significant impact on whether you’re successful or not. Taking the time to tailor your application will show the attention to detail and effort you have put in, highlighting that you want and deserve to win the scholarship.

Being honest about why you’re applying to the scholarship, why you’re interested in your course and what you want to do with your degree in the future will help your application stand out. 

Ask for help

It never hurts to ask for help. Getting your friends, parents or teachers to proofread your application or asking for tips on how to tailor it will help you put your best foot forward. 

You could also reach out to previous scholars on LinkedIn for advice or feedback as they’ve experienced the process before. 

The great thing about asking for help is that people might point out things you may not have previously considered, helping you to boost your application even further.

The Millennium Point Charitable Trust’s scholarship

Here at Millennium Point, our Charitable Trust offers a scholarship for STEM students every year. The scholarship is partnered with Birmingham City University, where students can receive a fully funded undergraduate degree in Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment. 

Our 2023 applications are currently open, however the deadline closes on the 23rd of March 2023 at 5PM.

To be eligible for our scholarship you’ll need to meet the following criteria:

To learn more about our STEM scholarship visit our website  today.

The application deadline for our scholarship program has been extended until Thursday 23rd March 2023, giving students extra time to get their applications in for a life-changing opportunity.

Now in it’s ninth year, one lucky undergraduate gets complete funding for their degree, from a choice of over 20 courses at the faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment at Birmingham City University.

Interested in applying but unsure what course to pick? Our recent blog outlines the best courses to choose based on what path you’re looking to take with your career.

Who can apply?

In order to apply you must live in the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and your chosen course must be listed in the ‘What Courses are Included’ section on our application page.

Applying is easy and simple

Applications are straight forward and can be done by visiting our dedicated application page. If you need any help please visit our frequently asked questions page or speak to one of our friendly Trust team.

What did previous winners experience

Previous winners of our scholarship have experienced life-changing moments after applying, enjoying positive steps with their development and kickstarting a career in their chosen field. Our 2017 winner Sagal studied Civil Engineering, graduating with a first class honours degree and landing a role with Jacobs as a Graduate Geotechnical Engineer.

The 2021 winner Asima Adnan from Dudley, is currently in her second year of studying for a degree in Planning at BCU. She commented: “Winning the scholarship was a wonderful surprise. It allowed me as a single mom to concentrate on building myself as a strong academic individual rather than to worry about how to financially pay back for what I have achieved. Millennium Point has given me the financial and emotional support I need to continue progressing into achieving my degree.”

Our charitable trust funds future talent in the region

Commercial activity that takes place in our building is funded back into the Millennium Point Charitable Trust, enabling the charity to donate, invest and facilitate more than £3.25m to STEM related organisations, projects and initiatives in the West Midlands, during 2022.

There’s just over two weeks remaining to grab the opportunity of a lifetime, and apply for the 2023 Millennium Point Trust Scholarship and help is at hand for any students in need of support to complete their application.

Submissions close on March 23rd for the chance to win a fully paid-for degree in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths). The programme, now in its ninth year, offers one lucky undergraduate complete funding for their degree, from a choice of over 20 courses at the faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment at Birmingham City University (BCU). The scholarship is the flagship initiative from the Millennium Point Charitable Trust and is fully funded by the charity.

A shortlist of candidates will be invited to present to a panel of judges at an Assessment Day, with the winner announced a few weeks later.

The Millennium Point Trust team is on hand to help any students looking to apply – simply email scholarshipapplications@millenniumpoint.org.uk.

We asked our previous winners for tips

We have also enlisted the assistance of former scholarship winners, who have been through the process and know a few ‘tricks of the trade’.

Ryan Dowell, who won the scholarship in 2018, graduated with a first-class honours degree in Civil Engineering, in 2021. He is currently working in Dublin, on the graduate programme at Ireland’s leading builder and contractor John Sisk and Son. Ryan has already worked on the landmark Fibonacci Square project for Meta, and is now working on 4 Park Place, in the heart of the Irish capital.

Ryan commented: “The scholarship was a key point in my development – before this point I had not delivered a presentation to a large group. I can confidently say that the experience helped build my confidence when speaking to people who I do not know. The location and people I have met have also made the choice to attend BCU one of the best I made.”

Ryan’s top tips for applicants:

Asima Adnan from Dudley, the 2021 Scholarship winner, is currently in her second year of studying for a degree in Planning at BCU. She commented: “Winning the scholarship was a wonderful surprise. It allowed me as a single mom to concentrate on building myself as a strong academic individual rather than to worry about how to financially pay back for what I have achieved. Millennium Point has given me the financial and emotional support I need to continue progressing into achieving my degree.”

Applications are only being accepted from students in the West Midlands region, who cannot already be studying for an undergraduate degree. Submissions are particularly being encouraged from traditionally marginalised groups in the field of STEM.

All of the commercial activity that takes place in the Millennium Point building feeds back into the Millennium Point Charitable Trust, enabling the charity to donate, invest and facilitate more than £3.25m to STEM related organisations, projects and initiatives in the West Midlands, during 2022.

For more information, visit www.millenniumpoint.org.uk/scholarship

We were excited to welcome 250 school children from Hodge Hill for the launch of Generation Earthshot in February.

Led by Liam Byrne MP, Generation Earthshot is an East Birmingham version of Prince William’s ‘Earthshot Prize’ to raise awareness of the climate change challenge and encourage young people’s creativity in providing solutions.  Hodge Hill schools will pick one of the below five climate challenges and develop a practical solution that can be implemented locally.

“Our young people are amazing. And right now, we need their passion, creativity and their brainpower to help us save the planet. I don’t think there’s anywhere better to unlock this genius than here in Birmingham. Centuries ago, we were the home of the industrial revolution. Now we must become the home of the green revolution.”

Liam Byrne MP Birmingham Hodge Hill

To help inspire their imagination, the children were joined by Liam,  Millennium Point CEO Abbie Vlahakis, and industry leaders and experts from companies such as Wildlife Trust Birmingham & Black Country, Severn Trent Water, and Tyseley Energy.

‘I’m thrilled that Millennium Point is supporting Generation Earthshot and it’s mission to empower young people to create a greener future. The team at Millennium Point is constantly investigating ways to be more sustainable and so I’m excited to hear the students’ ideas for protecting our planet.’

Abbie Vlahakis CEO Millennium Point

The school children are now developing their solutions to present in the final at Millennium Point this summer. Thousands of pounds in prizes will be awarded to the schools whose teams produce the best projects so that their proposals can be turned into reality. We can’t wait to hear their ideas!

Why Millennium Point get involved

As a multi-award-winning charity in the heart of Birmingham who champion STEM education, it is vital we play our part in supporting initiatives like Generation Earthshot.

This is just one of the ways we support STEM and schools in the West Midlands. Discover more on how we support education in the West Midlands in our brochure.

Hall Green School is a secondary school located in Birmingham, with a track record of high standards and inclusivity for pupils of all backgrounds and abilities.

The challenge

The school’s budget had  become stretched with increasingly less money available for significant investment in equipment. They realised that, even with a money-saving plan, only basic equipment could be purchased which risked leaving their pupils uninspired.

Hall Green wanted to use the Millennium Point Trust Grant to fund their STEM week. Their aim was to inspire young people to learn about STEM careers such as engineering, science and other jobs that they may have never thought were accessible to them.

What impact has it made?

The Grant paid for workshops throughout the week including hiring a planetarium so students could travel through the stars in an immersive environment.

Hall Green School also launched a stargazing club for interested students who could learn about space, physics, and other astronomy topics.

Tying in with STEM week the school ran a competition to create a project on space with STEM prizes on offer. Talented students created posters, dioramas, and essays all around space and technology. The winner created a model of an astronaut walking on the moon and wrote a story about an alien visiting Earth for the first time. Four talented runners up also won prizes including a telescope, museum tickets and a light-up model of the moon.

Why did they receive a Grant?

When visiting Hall Green it was instantly reaffirmed why they deserved the Grant. The teachers who were strong ambassadors of STEM wanted to promote why knowing about space was important in the curriculum. They spoke about how in the future there is a possibility that people will visit the Moon again, as well as potentially voyage to Mars. This generation of students will most likely be the people working on these projects in their careers, heightening the importance of teaching it as a career option and school topic now.

Discover more about 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 in our brand new brochure here.