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Such a great achievement for Team BrightSparks for coming runners-up for the ScottishPower Foundation Education Award @ClwydTweets @HEFCW @EM_WABangor #SPFoundation #STEM #Aspirations

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Bright Sparks fires up enthusiasm in STEM for Deeside primary school children


Positive Pathways Powys

Postive Pathways Powys

Bangor University extends student Peer Guide Awards

Now in its 14th year, Bangor University’s innovative Peer Guiding scheme, which enables second and third year students to support new students, has extended its Award ceremony to three Awards this year.

Ben Minchell, a third year student at the University’s School of Biological Sciences received the annual Peer Guide of the Year Award. This was given in recognition of his outstanding work with new students which involved supporting people through some personal difficulties and signposting them to effective sources of help.

Ben, from Goudhurst, near Tunbridge Wells is about to complete his degree in Zoology. He was extremely surprised to have won, though he spent a great deal of time supporting new students.

He says:

“I thought it’d being a Peer Guide would be a good experience. I like meeting people and helping people out. I enjoyed getting to know and meet people- I’m still friends with all my Freshers now. Perhaps the most challenging aspect was how busy I was, I didn’t get to spend more than an hour at home all day. However, I learnt a great deal about time management and determination and saw how hard I could push myself.

In addition to the Shield, Ben received £100 in High Street vouchers.  Ben, who is 21 and a former pupil of ****** chose to study at Bangor because….. and is hoping to stay on to study a Masters degree in Business Management.

Some of the anonymous comments from his nominees included the following:

“From day one he made sure I knew where I needed to be”

“Provided amazing support when a close family member was ill

“An amazing Peer Guide who still helps me now”

“Helped me with my own issues and encouraged me to get the help I should have done earlier”

“helped me figure everything out”

Natalie Evans, a final year Nursing Student from Wrexham, and based at the University’s Wrexham campus, was the first recipient of the University’s Most Effective Peer Guide Award. This was presented for Natalie’s commitment and reliability, in particular for the way in which she helped organise and develop the scheme in the University’s School of Healthcare Sciences.

Mature student Natalie Evans is studying Adult Nursing and is to join the A&E Department at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd when she graduates as a qualified nurse later this summer.

The 38 year old student said:

“I chose to become a Peer Guide to help people as I remember how I felt on my first day. It’s really daunting, you don’t know anyone. If we Peer Guides can be there to help the new student settle in and be a friendly face it just means a lot.”

Asked about her experience as a Peer Guide Natalie said:

“I’ve learnt a lot in all honesty, I’ve come on leaps and bounds doing this. I used to be really shy and quiet when I first started. The opportunity to be a Peer Guide really brought me out of myself, I’m more confident, and have even been shortlisted for the Nursing Times Outstanding Contribution to Student Affairs Award in the Student Nursing Awards because of it.”

Asked why she came to study as a mature student Natalie explained that she had been encouraged by her employer and by patients when she worked as a carer for six year. 

She said : “My boss and patients all encouraged me and said I’d be a really good nurse felt like it was something I should do and I’m really enjoying it.”

Reaching Wider sponsored a new Award this year. This was awarded posthumously to Kevin Larkin, who was studying Psychology at Bangor, for the particular warmth and inclusivity of the welcome he had extended to new students.  Dr Tracey Lloyd of the School of Psychology accepted the award on behalf of Kevin’s family. Reaching Wider is an initiative helps and supports access to higher education for those who sometimes find it more difficult, provided by a partnership of higher and further education providers in north and mid Wales.

Ian Connor of Reaching Wider commented:

“This Award was thoroughly deserved and is a fitting way to pay tribute to the warmth and welcome that Kevin displayed to all.”

Ian Connor added: “Bangor University has one of the largest Peer Guide schemes of any UK University and we appreciate the Peer Guides’ work in helping new students settle in to life at University.”

Some of the nominations for Kevin included:

“The most enthusiastic and approachable Peer Guide you could have”

“Helped me feel comfortable before arriving as I could have laugh with him”

“Was always a friend to those who met him”

“Made sure EVERYONE was OK – I’m not even in his school but he welcomed me”


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Girls in Engineering Club

Ran in partnership with Coleg Cambria, this project aims to increase the number of year 8 and 9 girls from Communities First areas to consider Engineering as a possible career. 23 girls from years 8-9 participated in the first level engineering course. The majority of girls want to follow a career in engineering, those who did not want to follow a career in it still found it enjoyable and informative.


STEM Family Challenge events 

In partnership with Engineering Development Trust, these events aim to engage and inspire students together with their families into STEM showing them the different routes and courses available and raising awareness that positively alters the image of STEM careers. The STEM Family Challenge has been designed to engage, inform and highlight to families the benefits of courses and careers available in STEM as well as give them the opportunity to work in teams on a fun family ‘hands on’ STEM activity through an evening event. The event focuses on STEM career guidance by giving students a taster of STEM in its broadest context, demonstrating how this fits into the ‘real’ world of work and the pathways available to them.


Bright Sparks programme

In conjunction with Theatre Clwyd the Bright Sparks programme uses performing arts to raise the awareness and importance of STEM, to pupils, parents, carers and teachers, highlighting the skills and local employment opportunities that will/ are available locally and nationally. 


• Raise the Awareness of STEM with Pupils, Teachers and Parents

• Raise the Awareness of Employment opportunities local, national and international

• Use interactive fun to engage young people STEM, Skills and employers:  

• Learning through self-discovery

• Inspiration through empathy

• Team work

• Communication skills

• Confidence building

• Exploration of STEM and its application in day-to-day living.

• Encouragement of long term aspiration to careers in STEM related activity




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