Imperial College London's Makerspace facility is a state-of-the-art haven, perfectly designed to inspire young people to experiment, design and innovate.
The aim of the Makerspace project is to introduce children mainly between the ages of 14-18 to engage creatively in science, technology, engineering and mathematics; and ultimately inspire the children into careers in STEM subjects. The space is complete with a high caliber selection of tools including 3D printers, scanners, laser cutters, woodworking equipment and much more. As well as the studio, a separate room is used for tutorials, brainstorming and learning about the theory behind some of the more practical techniques.
One of the programmes at Makerspace is the Maker Challenge Programme. It is aimed at young people who are local to White City, and gives participants the opportunity to develop an idea and see it through to creation, where no idea is too big or too small. A team from the Berkeley Foundation met with the Maker Challenge graduates in the end of February, and discovered their projects ranged from trainers with built-in speakers to an architectural house model and a fully functioning drone! Not only does the challenge help the children to enhance their creative abilities, but they are able to do so with high quality technology. In addition to getting such experience, the participants learn a range of soft skills, including team-building, presenting and communicating skills. At the end of the programme, the young people are able to showcase their projects so that parents, teachers and families can be engaged and included.
Once graduated from the Makerspace project, participants can come back and use the facilities in any of the regularly organised time slots. Of the young people the Foundation team spoke to, some were coming back to further work on their Makerspace products whilst others were going off and creating vending machines and board games. No matter which route they are taking, it is clear that they are all extremely excited and very motivated.
There is an incredible passion throughout the entire project, from the session leaders to the children themselves. The project is truly inspiring and clearly helps not only to foster a creative spark but helps to enhance their independent learning, and aiding their personal growth.