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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.