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News article created on 4 May 2016

John Muir Award for Stoke College students

A group of college students from Stoke have completed a pilot STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) project in Central Shires.

Stoke College students receive their award Stoke College students receive their award
"I would be happy to do this programme every day for the rest of my life.” Student

27 April 2016 saw Stoke College and the Trust coming together to celebrate the achievements of 13 young people who have successfully completed a short programme, gaining certification and the John Muir Award.

The young people were presented their certificates by Kevin Smith (Stoke College Principle) and Charlotte Atkins (Chair of the Central Shires Partnership Board) and given the opportunity to tell their story.

One of the young people commented "I would be happy to do this programme every day for the rest of my life.”

Another young person said: “This is the first certificate I have ever received, I am really proud to have been involved.”

How the STEM project worked:

The students volunteered to attend a taster session followed by three full days of personal and professional skills development.

Young people completing their John Muir AwardLed by Glyn Parkes from, the Central Shires Waterway and supported by staff and volunteers, the young people developed not only their practical skills by hands on learning, but also learned about the heritage of the canal in their local area.

A particular highlight for the young people was learning how to dry stone wall. They loved learning how to build and maintain dry stone walls. They were shown by a qualified trainer before being allowed to test out their practical skills has a group.

The young people had a friend join them for a short time as they found a smooth newt living in part of the wall they were working on.

The group also enjoyed their tour and presentations around Etruria boat yard and Industrial museum, where they were told of the story of Jesse Shirley’s bone and flint mill and its part in local and national history, thanks to the engineer James Brindley born 1716 (300yrs old this year). The young people also had a tour of the area, learning about how the locks work whilst helping boaters through the locks. These tours were led by Bernard Lovatt and his team of volunteers from the industrial museum.

The group also undertook tasks creating homes for wildlife such as an Otter Holt at a secret location. They built homes for Bumblebees, and enhanced a number of areas by spreading wildflower seeds.

The young people were supported and encouraged by Neil Hamilton and Craig Halliwell from Stoke College.

Well done!

Glyn, the local waterway and national Youth Engagement Team would like to take this opportunity to thank all involved especially the young people and we hope to see you all again soon on the waterway either as mentors or as volunteers. Well done guys, give yourselves a pat on the back!

For more information on our current youth projects and progress, please see our youth social action pages.


Thanks to Be Together Limited, the Education Business Link Consortium for Staffordshire & Stoke for funding the project.

About this blog

The youth engagement team

The youth engagement team supports colleagues across the Trust to engage more young people in their work. We provide guidance to local teams and work together to deliver a range of projects to meet the needs, interests and aspirations of young people and the strategic priorities of the waterway. We endeavour to raise the Trust’s profile and reputation within the youth sector and work with a number of national partners to offer a wide range of activities for young people.

See more blogs from The youth engagement team