This workshop is aimed at KS1 – KS3 pupils and lasts between 60-90 minutes. It is linked to the national curriculum’s SMSC (Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural development) and supports The Rights Respecting Schools outcomes and deals with the power of STEM subjects as creators of social change and lifesaving technology. 

The workshop introduces some of the North of England’s greatest engineers and encourages students to consider the range of both their engineering and soft skills. In doing so, students can start to make connections and identify their own STEM skills and attributes. 

A Parsons turbine at a colliery - black and white photo
A photo of two children pointing at a red exhibition board, which reads 'Women in engineering'.

Students learn about the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs) and how they can use the skills discussed to solve real-world problems. They explore the goals that are important to them individually, as well as their future aspirations.  

They can choose one (or more) goal as inspiration for a ‘great engineering idea’ and draw their invention, innovation or campaign.  

Northern Aspirations also introduces students to the Mining Institute and the engineers connected to its foundation, including Nicholas Wood. This heritage story instils pride in local youngsters, raising their awareness of the region’s rich history of industry and engineering.  

Learning Outcomes  

  • Improve engagement, interest or enjoyment in STEM subjects  
  • Improve awareness and aspirations for STEM-related study and careers
  • Challenge stereotypes by understanding the diversity of disciplines, people and skills involved in engineering  

This experience helps your school to reach the following Gatsby benchmarks:  

  • Linking curriculum learning to careers  
  • Encounters with employers and employees 

What do educators think?

"I really liked the use of the sustainable development goals. It was great for the children to have an opportunity to think freely and creatively about a goal they related to or found important. It was good to have the workshop at a real workplace of innovation and engineering, as it made what they were doing feel more real."

Teacher, Fulwell Junior School

"The workshops, which were delivered to Year 1-6 children, were brilliant as they introduced the children to the history of mining and they were cross curricular. They really enjoyed learning about mining and the engineers that helped to shape our world. The children were also given the opportunity to think about goals for the future, not only for themselves but for the world that they live in.”

Hannah Osueke, Science and STEAM Leader, Science Teacher of the Year Award Winner 2017-18

Inspirational encounters with engineers

We can co-deliver this workshop with a number of our industry partners, showcasing current engineering in the region and how engineers today are working towards solving problems linked to one or more of the UNSDGs.

This provides schools with the opportunity to link into their Gatsby Benchmarks programme, for example benchmark 4 and benchmark 5.