Charity combines football with robotics to engage Merseyside students in STEAM

Everton FC’s official charity is offering a new e-learning programme to encourage disadvantaged children in Merseyside to pursue careers in STEAM

Everton Football Club’s official charity has launched a new e-learning programme to transform the way disadvantaged young people in Merseyside learn about technology.

Created by Everton in the Community, the initiative combines football with robotics to engage students aged five to 16 years in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) education, hoping to encourage them into further studies or careers in the fields.

The programme will be delivered to approximately 2,000 children across 63 schools in the Liverpool City region. Using Sphero’s new sports-themed coding solution, Sphero Sports – which enables users to program robots and football pitch-themed mats – tutors from the charity will help children learn, create and invent through coding, science, music and the arts.

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With the pandemic-driven school closures exacerbating education inequality, it’s hoped that the programme will help to address the STEAM learning gap among disadvantaged youth.

STEAM learning has been shown to help young people develop crucial social and personal skills, including problem-solving, critical thinking, communication and teamwork – skills that are forecasted to be most in-demand in 2025, according to the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Future of Jobs report.

The project is supported by STEAM education resource provider CreativeHUT and funded by a range of partners, such as Liverpool-based Appreciate Group. Sphero has also offered training support to the charity to ensure that the robots are used to their full capacity to maximise positive results among students.

Ian O’Doherty, CEO of Appreciate Group, commented: “Like many businesses, technology is at the heart of our current and future strategy so it’s vital the workers of tomorrow have the digital and STEAM skills we will need to remain successful. We are delighted to be supporting this programme and to help boost the learning prospects for children in the region when it comes to these important subjects.”

The programme will initially be rolled out to 20 of the charity’s partner schools this month (May 2021), before being extended across all 63 schools. Everton in the Community will also establish measures to monitor progress and impact.

In the future, the charity hopes to see e-STEAM integrated into all of its programmes, including disability, health and wellbeing, as well as its Impact Model through community centres, after school clubs and community projects.

“We are incredibly proud of our new e-STEAM programme and are excited to start rolling it out to schools across Merseyside and work to increase the interest in STEAM by making it fun, engaging and relevant for young people,” said Sue Gregory, Everton in the Community Director of Youth Engagement and Employability.

“This programme has been made possible thanks to the support of some incredibly socially-conscious organisations and we look forward to working alongside them to create joy in education whilst enabling young people to have a brighter future and bridge the skills gap,” she added.

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