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Using our industrial heritage to inspire the next generation

14 October 2020

The Common Room of the Great North is a charity based in Newcastle which uses the unique industrial heritage of the North East, and it’s building,to inspire the next generation of innovators and engineers. Based in the impressive Grade II* listed Neville Hall building near Central Station, The Common Room celebrates the region’s engineering history through education and engagement.  

The team uses the industrial heritage of the North East to instil pride in our region’s young people. Their Northern Aspirations Programme raises the STEM aspirations of the  next generation of engineers, while linking to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and National Curriculum encouraging young people to think about the difference they could make to the world through engineering. The activities are wide-ranging and cover a variety of audiences and age ranges, including schools, non-school groups, adults and families.  

Photography by Simon Veit-Wilson / Kids in Museums

The Common Room started working with the STEM Ambassador Hub back in March 2018 and has supported the work they do in the region ever since. STEM Ambassadors from The Common Room have participated in a number of different activities supporting younger generations to engage with STEM and to learn new STEM skills. These activities include Greenpower Goblin car projects and racing days, Bring It On events, mentoring, primary school workshops, Primary Engineer Award grading days and many, many more. 

Since the launch of North East Ambition, the STEM Ambassador Hub has supported The Common Room and their Ambassadors to access a wide variety of freely available resources for STEM engagement and to work with schools who haven’t previously engaged with The Common Room, allowing them to access a larger number of students and to spread the word further.  

The Common Room’s STEM Ambassadors have organised a number of their own STEM activities, including industry take over days for families, and Women in Engineering events with primary schools, which were co-delivered with engineers working across the sector throughout the North East. These events have been targeted at a wider audience and have given the opportunity for parents to see the benefits aligned with working in a STEM career, as well as the young people. Parents are instrumental to the career choices that young people take and so working with them as well as the young people is becoming increasingly important.   

Emily Tench, Programme and Engagement Manager from The Common Room, said: 
"I am honoured to be using our industrial heritage to inspire and instil pride in our future workforce. Being a STEM ambassador has enabled me to work with lots of inspirational young people across the region challenging misconceptions around what engineering was, is and could be in the future."  


About North East Ambition
North East Ambition is an education and skills programme delivered by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership that supports all schools and colleges in the North East to achieve the Gatsby Good Career Guidance Benchmarks by 2024.
Working in partnership with education and industry, it aims to ensure each and every young person in the North East has access to quality careers education.

For more information about North East Ambition and how it can help your company, contact neambition@rtcnorth.co.uk or the STEM team at 01915164400.


Photography by Simon Veit-Wilson / Kids in Museums


Heritage Fund   the Common Room


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