Innova Learning Ltd is a team of eleven nucleargraduates, all from different disciplines but all equally passionate about promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects and careers among the next generation. As part of the nucleargraduates programme, managed by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and sponsored by nuclear industry companies including Magnox Ltd, Sellafield Ltd, Rolls Royce and Jacobs, we have already started to engage with students through our role as volunteers. However, when set the challenge of developing our own small-medium-enterprise by the nucleargraduates
team, we knew we wanted to take our STEM volunteering a step further and set up a business which would have a positive impact on students and promote social mobility within STEM industries.
This is an important cause to us as research repeatedly shows that the UK economy suffers a loss of £1.5bn per year due to shortages in STEM skills. Not only is this an immediate loss of the UK’s prosperity, but it also signifies a more long-term problem in terms of missing out on new research and potentially pioneering technologies, some of which are vital for a sustainable future. Businesses expect this issue to worsen over the next ten years, and so it is imperative we tackle these issues now to ensure sustainable STEM futures for the UK and globally. It is also clear that individuals from working class backgrounds are extremely underrepresented in STEM subjects at higher-education and careers, with overall social mobility in the UK among the lowest in the developed world. Young people from disadvantaged backgrounds face major barriers in progressing to degrees, apprenticeships, and careers. Therefore, the most important aspect of this project for our team is demonstrating the appeal of these subjects to children from a young age while promoting STEM careers as accessible and rewarding professions regardless of background or gender.
Our solution is The Innovabox, a classroom in a box experience, ready-made to provide classes of 9–11-year-olds with a day’s worth of STEM related activities. Not only do these activities follow the national curriculum, but they are immersive, inspiring, and fun, encouraging students to explore the activities themselves, promoting investigative and problem-solving skills, alongside teamwork. Within the boxes, a comprehensive, bespoke teacher’s guide, along with materials needed for activities are included. In addition, classes will have access to our exclusive website with additional learning materials and lesson plans, to enable further learning beyond the day of activities. The Innovabox is also comprised of items which are either reusable, recyclable or biodegradable, therefore promoting environmentally friendly packaging and aims to educate students on environmental issues, promoting care for the planet alongside STEM learning.
The first Innovabox to be released will be the Innovabox Space, featuring three fun activities to educate students on the topic of Space, and featuring our Significant Figures showcase where we provide information on some key but often lesser-known key figures to inspire students and demonstrate the range of careers available to them. We hope to follow this first run of boxes with Innovabox Energy and Innovabox Earth.
Our business will be based on a sponsorship model, in which will seek funding from businesses to sponsor Innovaboxes which will then be provided to students at no cost to their school or parents. This ensures the box is accessible regardless of background or school budget. This will be topped up by our fundraising campaign which will allow for individual donations from those who wish to support the Innovabox.
All profits from the product will be donated to the charity In2scienceUK, which addresses diversity and inclusion in STEM by giving disadvantaged Year 12 students the support, skills, and experience to access degrees, apprenticeships, and careers in the sector through bio-industry placements which may otherwise not be accessible for these students. We believe In2scienceUK are a fantastic partner for Innova Learning, sharing our values of empowering the pioneers and innovators of the future regardless of their background.
If you would like to read more about Innova Learning, the Innovabox, donate to our GoFundMe or get in touch with us, please see https://linktr.ee/innovalearning or contact [email protected].