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Innovation is future focused and needs motivated, collaborative, open-minded people to make it happen successfully. This is why we want to involve young people in the NWG Innovation Festival and inspire the next workforce generation into Science, Technology, Engineering, Art or Maths (STEAM) careers and design thinking. Having a talent pool with appropriate skills in the North East is fundamental to the future success of our region.

Recognising that continuous learning is a valuable skill, we’ve also planned a few sessions for parents and adults too.



You’ll need to book places in advance. Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis and will be free of charge. We expect places to be in demand. Closing date 26 April 2019. Bookings will all be confirmed before the event. Please be aware that not every event will run every day.

Risk Assessment information will be available on this website for each activity so teachers can complete their paperwork in advance of the Festival.

Students will need to be accompanied by responsible adults at all times.


“Strengthening a soft skill is one of the best investments you can make in your career, as they never go out of style.”

- LinkedIn



We will be run sessions for different age groups, including a special session for parents 3.15 pm – 5 pm on Wednesday afternoon. These sessions are appropriate from Year 3 to degree level.


Who : Year 3 to Degree Level

When : Tuesday to Friday

What : We’ve picked some ‘Social and Emotional skills’, or elements of them, to explore in a fun and memorable way.  A carousel of pacey, interactive sessions will show young people they already have at least a foundation in these skills and arm them with some tools to build on them. 

The focus will be on Empathy and basic Emotional Intelligence; Decision Making; Loving Learning; Curiosity; Relationship skills and Resilience. 

“We had a fantastic time and it really brought the careers that STEM can lead to life for the children.”

- Alison McDonough, Headteacher at West Rainton Primary School

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Geordie Bridges (Centre for Life)


Who : Key Stage 2 & 3

When : Monday to Friday

What : Using a series of demonstrations from Life’s theatre show ‘Great Geordie Bridges’ as local inspiration for the important role of civil engineers, the pupils will be set a series of bridge related challenges to be worked on in small groups. Using a variety of materials their bridges will be tested to destruction. Students will be encouraged to learn from their immediate past successes or failures and modify their designs in order to better rise to the next challenge.

We’ll also demonstrate that Civil Engineering is a great career for girls.

Mission to Mars (Centre for Life)


Who : Key Stage 2 & 3

When : Monday to Friday

What : How can you control a Mars rover when it takes up to 24 minutes for a radio signal from Earth to arrive? Find out how the European Space Agency solve this problem by using robot explorers during their ExoMars mission.

Students take on the role of computer scientists and engineers and learn to program our LEGO Mindstorm Mars rovers. Students will be challenged to program a Mars rover, discover how to use infrared sensors to sense and move around physical objects – and even how to make their robot dance!


“I liked that we got to show off our creative skills working in small groups. It was also fun and hands-on”

- Richard, Year 8 Student

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Mendathon / Fixit Café


Who : Year 9 & Year 10

When : Tuesday to Thursday

What : This is something new for 2019. It’s a build on our Zero Waste approach to the 2018 NWG Innovation Festival, to explore wealth from waste. Working with Fixit Cafe who are committed to “repair and re-use rather than refuse”.

We’ll help young people develop skills to find their own fix for broken items and to learn where to go for information, or to re-purpose them. It might be electronic stuff, gadgets or clothing.

We’ll also bring in people who can share how you can build a business. We’d ideally like to work with up to 20 students from a range of schools, probably young people who aren’t particularly inspired by studying for GCSEs and enjoy doing something practical.

Sculpting from single use plastic and a Storytelling framework to Pitch an idea


Who : Key Year 9 & Year 10

When : Tuesday to Thursday

What : A study reported by the Guardian in March 2018 found that 90% of bottled water contains micro plastics, in some cases 325 pieces. Artist, Diane Watson, will confront these statistics by creating an installation and discussing the issues with students. We’ll ask students to bring plastic they’ve collected with them.

And join Seven Stories expert storytellers to learn new ways to create and present an idea. Through exploration of storytelling techniques young people will develop key communication skills while picking up hints and tips on how to create a compelling argument.

"Human skills like originality, initiative and critical thinking are likely to increase in value as technology and automation advances"

- World Economic Forum



Young People’s Parallel Sprint

Who : 6th Form to Degree Level

When : Monday to Friday

What : A Design sprint is a process for answering critical business, societal or environmental questions through design, prototyping, and testing ideas with customers. Great ideas are everywhere, but the path to success is uncertain, even with the greatest.

You’ll need to be able to commit to 5 full day. A Design Sprint helps save precious time, energy and resources, by jumping into the future.

Last year the teenage Blue Planet sprint was such a success that we’d like to build on it this year with groups of young people focusing on some of the same issues as the adults, going through a similar Design Sprint process, coming together with the adult sprints for any expert inputs and then pitching their ideas to be considered to take to prototyping. Suitable for 6th form, college and university students.

Topics will be confirmed nearer the time, but could be similar to the following:

  • How do we persuade people to drink tap water first - hack & sprint? To explore Drinking Water Quality

  • A world-class customer service – what does that look like to a student, a family, someone on low income, a pensioner etc.

  • Procurement to benefit the environment and drive the local economy

  • How do we make Utilities into the sector of choice for future employees?

  • Tackling Water Poverty, reinvigorating communities

  • Societal topic – “How can businesses improve the lives of…” those with dementia, loneliness, mental health?

Work Experience Opportunities


We will be advertising work experiences at this years Innovation Festival in April. Please stayed tuned for more details.


"Closing the gender gap by bringing more women into technology and manufacturing is … an economic necessity"

- Mark Elborne, CEO & President - GE UK & Ireland



Mothers & Daughters Session - My Skills My Life


Who : Year 9 & Older

When : Wednesday 5 pm

What : We’re working with WISE Organisation to help girls discover their potential and open doors to careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. We’ll explore you and your daughter’s personality type and some of the careers you might consider. There will be the opportunity meet people and talk about their career. Dads and sons are welcome too. 40 places.


Train the Trainer : My Skills My Life


Who : Adults

When : Tuesday 5 pm

What : The WISE Organisation are trying to reach 200,000 girls in the next 5 years to help them discover their potential and open doors to careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.

Are you keen to encourage others to follow your footsteps and choose to study and work in a STEM arena? We’ll give you, and show you how to use, tools which you can take into schools and run sessions with groups of girls and make a difference to their lives.

Find out how you can inspire the next generation of STEAM workers


Who : Adults

When : Thursday Dropin from 9:30am

What : The WISE Organisation and RTC North : STEM Ambassador Hub will be on site with some of their volunteers. Come and share your experiences or explore whether it is something you could get involved with.

"The innovation economy is a fast-growing industry with a range of opportunities"

- Fiona McDonnell, Director Consumer Retail - Amazon



To book a place or to find out more please contact Gilly via the below form or phone her on 07411 050538 by Friday 26th April 2019.

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