|HUNDREDS of North East families are now able to benefit from a free educational STEM programme, created by global IT and business services consultancy CGI, to help home schooling during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
CGI’s STEM from Home programme was initially aimed at families of its own employees, but has now been made available to the organisation’s clients and the wider public.
Mark Thompson, CGI’s Director of Consulting Services in the north east, and Glen Richardson, a Gateshead-based Senior Consultant for CGI are both using the STEM from Home initiative to keep their young children busy.
Mark said: “The idea came from our regular STEM Camps, which we’ve organised in partnership with schools and community organisations across the UK for some time. The STEM Camps are the flagship program of STEM@CGI, a global initiative encouraging young people into Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
“Twenty five camps have been held in the last year alone, engaging more than 150 CGI volunteers and reaching more than 900 students. With the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, it made sense to make our STEM activities virtual.
“Recognising the difficulties that parents face when balancing remote working and childcare, CGI is delivering weekly STEM-based activity packs aimed at students aged 6-14, but which are also suitable for younger children.
“The packs proved so popular with the families of our members, the company decided to make them available for everyone to use.
“Activities encompass all aspects of STEM, including coding, environmental sustainability and robotics. There’s a range of activities – and competitions – each week, involving technical, practical and physical elements.”
Mark has been enjoying working on the programme with son George, seven, daughter Beatrice, 5, and his wife Ruth, who is a doctor at the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough.
Meanwhile, fellow CGI employee Glen Richardson, has also been keeping his young children Jessica, seven, and Zac, four, active with the programme, with his wife Shelley, who works at Lichfields planning and developing consultancy in Newcastle.
“We’ve enjoyed working on the programme together as a family, and who knows, Jessica and Zac may be among the next generation inspired to go into a STEM career as a result,” said Glen.
“It’s good to know that CGI has provided such an important service to hundreds of families during such an unsettling period, and I hope many more families take advantage of the free packs – they’re not just educational, they’re great fun too!” he added.
Earlier this month CGI, which employs more than 77,500 consultants and other professionals around the globe, joined regional tech network Dynamo to help raise its profile in the north east. The company delivers an end-to-end portfolio of capabilities, from strategic IT and business consulting to systems integration, managed IT and business process services and intellectual property solutions.
Mark explained: “We are excited about our partnership with Dynamo, which is part of our ongoing plan to increase CGI’s presence in the region.
“CGI is committed to promoting technology, business and community growth in the North East, and we believe Dynamo can help lay the foundations for CGI’s growth in the region. We look forward to collaborating with Dynamo to support and develop the North East tech sector and its communities.”
Andrew Besford, a Dynamo vice chair, said: “”We are delighted to welcome CGI, the fifth largest independent IT and business consulting services firm in the world, as members of Dynamo to support their growth in the north east. I have worked for the company earlier in my career in other parts of the world, and I know their skills and values are very well aligned with our region. We look forward to collaborating with CGI to develop and grow their business, especially supporting clients and creating jobs in the north east.”
CGI’s Stem from Home packs can be found at https://www.cgi-group.co.uk/en-gb/corporate-social-responsibility/stem-from-home
Dynamo North East is a business-led organisation with the core mission of ‘Growing the North East tech economy through collaboration, innovation, skills and noise.’ With more than 160 members, it is made up of IT organisations, large corporate employers in the region, consultants, technology hubs, education providers, local government and suppliers to the industry.
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