MPower Kernow

Introduction

MPower Kernow C.I.C. (MPKC) is a new social enterprise established to create a unique technical training centre for STEM/STEAM, Enviro-Tech and Construction Skills. It will shine a light on the world of engineering and construction, opening young people’s eyes to the practical world of making things, planning, problem solving, building, and working together.

The MPKC Centre will motivate young people to explore career paths and opportunities that are possible with engineering, practical trades and emerging technologies. It will also harness the incredible stories of historic Cornish engineers and innovators to inspire this interest and explain many technical principals using a hands-on, practical approach to learning.

Mission – Engineering Lessons to Last a Lifetime

  1. Provide practical training and work experience opportunities to people who live, work and study in Cornwall and the wider South West who need employment in skills that will help them to achieve their potential
  2. Develop programmes to increase employment opportunities in Cornwall and to enhance skill levels in the community, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds
  3. Cooperate with appropriate educational institutions, commercial companies, local and national government and specialist support agencies to enable people with a wide range of skill and academic levels to have hands-on work experience
  4. Contribute to providing local people with the skills and knowledge required for Cornwall to Meet its Climate Emergency Goals
  5. Introduce young people to the wealth of potential opportunities in practical technical subjects and to inspire them to consider STEM careers
  6. Provide practical training opportunities to the rail and maritime industries
  7. To support heritage organisations in Cornwall with a volunteer labour force to provide manpower to deserving projects whilst benefitting the volunteers through work experience
  8. To harness Cornwall’s unique and fascinating industrial heritage including 4000 years of mineral extraction and international trade; and the invention and development of high pressure steam technology that literally changed the face of the planet; to explain basic STEM concepts in an exciting way that inspires and captures the imagination of children and young people

By honouring the legacy of Cornwall’s pioneering engineers and inspiring the community with a sense of pride in their own engineering history, MPower Kernow C.I.C. will equip future generations of Cornish men and women with practical Engineering Lessons to Last a Lifetime.

Why Create a STEM Training Centre?

Cornwall is officially recognised as one of the poorest areas in Europe with GDP per capita at 72% of the European Union average. Moreover, St Blazey is in the 10% of most deprived areas nationally with high unemployment, low educational attainment and few opportunities for youth skill development.

From our research, we believe there is a real and tangible need for greater STEM and trade skills education and training at all ages within Cornwall. MPKC propose to help fulfil this necessary function by creating a “STEM Hub for Cornwall”, at the heart of the county.

What is Proposed?

Fundamental to ensuring the success and long-term viability of the project, our five key principals are that MPower Kernow C.I.C.:

  1. Provides tangible economic benefits to Cornwall
  2. Provides for the real educational and training needs of Cornwall
  3. Provides the skills needed for Cornwall to meet its climate emergency goals
  4. Will inspire young people to consider technical STEM careers
  5. Will be a financially self-sustaining enterprise

MPKC is in discussion with the owners of potential suitable workshops which can be developed on brown-field land in the Par and St Blazey area. The intention is to create a workshop facility within close walking distance of Par Station.

Par Bay area is strategically located within Cornwall on the main national rail network junction, thus allowing young people from all over the county without access to private vehicles to utilise public transport to efficiently access STEM training opportunities provided by MPKC.

It is proposed that parts of the training program will include young trainees having the opportunities:

  • To learn basic engineering and construction industry practical skills
  • To be involved in a variety of commercial technical and environmental projects, the income from which will be re-invested back into the project
  • To be involved in assisting in collaborative projects with other “third sector” stakeholder organisations in restoring, reinstating, building and maintaining important local industrial and heritage structures and machinery

By involving young people in hands-on projects, MPKC will fulfil another prime objective, that of inspiring future generations of Cornish Men and Women to become involved in engineering and environmental technologies.

Cornwall’s great inventors and innovators once led the world in developing cutting edge industrial technology which literally changed the planet… by understanding basic practical applications of environmentally sustainable technologies, young people will realise that they too can help change the face of the planet of the future.

Training Project Development

MPKC have undertaken research including visiting similar training programs elsewhere in the UK and engaging with a wide range of organisations and educational institutions involved in education, particularly in the SEND and NEET sectors. We are aware that there is a significant demand for this type of training in Cornwall and have developed an outline business plan. We are confident that a sustainable social enterprise business can be developed to provide practical training opportunities for specific age and academic levels.

Initially training will be aimed predominantly at NEETs and those with SEND. Practical STEM skills Training will complement academic study delivered elsewhere. Training will start at an elementary level, providing basic skills that can be developed and tailored to suit the recipient. Those with the appropriate aptitude and interest will be encouraged to continue to more advanced training during later stages in the program. It is envisaged that this can ultimately lead to in-house supported employment programs, enabling young people to actually earn a living and develop their CV, and with appropriate support allow them to eventually move into mainstream employment.

Once the centre has been established for NEETs and young people with SEND, similar training programs can be developed to provide practical education and training opportunities to school children, particularly at KS2 and 3. As the project progresses, MPKC intend to enhance training provision to include work experience opportunities for KS4 and sixth form age children, support those studying STEM based  T-Level courses to provide work based project experience and create opportunities for special engineering projects to be developed with HE providers.

NEET and SEND Qualifications and Training

MPKC aim to provide all training to recognised and accredited standards. We also want to work in collaboration with SEND organisations to develop training and qualifications to fit their needs and those of commercial businesses. MPKC intend to provide learners with a broad introduction to engineering and construction and equip learners with underpinning knowledge and skills specific to these sectors, alongside a range of transferable employability skills.

 

 

Typical Training Opportunities;

MPKC intend to train young people using simple projects where they can be introduced to several skills in a single project. The ethos is to make the project self sustaining at an early stage which will allow MPKC to provide products and services within the community, undertaken on site or in the local area. There are numerous opportunities to work on such projects which can involve NEETs, those with SEND and other young people at various stages in a closely supervised environment where all health, safety and safeguarding requirements can be fulfilled.

Funding and Project Development

MPKC have been fortunate to receive financial support from Par Bay Big Local to undertake research and business planning. In addition, Par Bay Big Local and their associated network of community and social enterprise support organisations have provided significant assistance and advice to develop the project. This has also helped open doors to discuss the development of the MPKC project other funding organisations, to which the reception has been exceedingly positive. MPKC are therefore confident of receiving significant funding for the project from specific sources.

 Meanwhile, additional sources of funding have been identified and are being explored, which may include pure grants or supported placements for learners. MPKC is now in the process of creating detailed education curriculum as well as developing safeguarding protocols, safety management systems and identifying the necessary staffing levels, etc. The output will be a detailed final business plan covering all aspects of the project to inform final funding applications.