Back to experiences


Northern Aspirations

Explore the STEM skills of the North’s greatest engineers and solve real-world problems with sustainable development.

Northern Aspirations

The workshop introduces some of the North of England’s greatest engineers and encourages students to consider the range of both their engineering and soft skills. In doing so, students can start to make connections and identify their own STEM skills and attributes.

Students learn about the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs) and how they can use the skills discussed to solve real-world problems. They explore the goals that are important to them individually, as well as their current future aspirations.

They can choose one (or more) goal as inspiration for a ‘great engineering idea’ and draw their invention, innovation or campaign.

Northern Aspirations introduces students to the Mining Institute and the engineers connected to its foundation, including Nicholas Wood and George Stephenson. This heritage story instils pride in local youngsters, raising their awareness of the region’s rich history of industry and engineering.

Children explore why coal was important as an energy source and what it was like to mine underground across the Great Northern Coalfield.

The Common Room co-deliver this workshop with industry partners, either in-person or digitally, connecting young people with engineers in the region. This showcases modern engineering and how engineers are working to solve problems linked to one or more of the UNSDGs.


Minimum of 12 participants, maximum of 40 participants.


The length of the session is flexible to fit in with your school day. It is usually between 60 and 90 minutes, depending on factors such as industry/engineer involvement.


We can deliver sessions either in school or at our space in Newcastle.

Learning outcomes

  • Improve engagement, interest or enjoyment in STEM subjects

  • Improve awareness and aspirations for STEM-related study and careers

  • Challenge stereotypes by showing the diversity of disciplines, people and skills involved in engineering

Gatsby benchmark hitter

The Gatsby benchmarks are a framework for good careers guidance for schools across all of England and in some areas across the rest of the UK. This experience helps your school to reach the following benchmarks:

  • Linking curriculum learning to careers
  • Encounters with employers and employees

Subjects and topics

    • Engineering
    • Energy and environment

Essential skills

The essential skills every young person needs to succeed in education and their future career. Find out more at the Skills Builder Partnership. This experience builds the following skills:

  • Creativity - the use of imagination and the generation of new ideas.

  • Problem solving - the ability to find a solution to a complex situation or challenge.

What the teachers say

We would love to read all about your time with this experience!

Log in to write a testimonial
I really liked the use of the sustainable development goals. It was great for the children to have an opportunity to think freely and creatively about a goal they related to or found important.
Teacher Fulwell Junior School
Icon representing Secondary education Secondary

STEM Ambassadors

STEM Ambassadors from a wide range of STEM-related jobs to help bring subjects to life.

  • Ages 11 to 21
  • In-school
  • Full day
  • Free

Careers resources