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Prince's Trust Scheme Inspires Students Through Science and Technology

08 May 2014

In Heolddu School - small

Heolddu Comprehensive School pupils taking part in a club run by The Prince’s Trust have improved their scientific knowledge thanks to a funding boost from global music artist and philanthropist,, and support from the European Cancer Stem Cell Research Institute at Cardiff University.

The Institute created a seven week project for pupils taking part in the Prince’s Trust’s xl club at the School, that saw the year 10 pupils take an interactive approach to finding out about cancer, culminating in using artwork to represent what they’d learnt.

The youth charity’s xl clubs are run in schools across the UK to support pupils at risk of underachieving or truanting, helping them to re-engage with their education. Thanks to a generous £500,000 funding boost from, the clubs are inspiring and engaging young people with STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) subjects, building skills that are vital for the jobs market.

Working with the Institute’s scientists and local artist Phil Lambert, the students explored topics such as DNA, and the disease itself and participated in workshops about healthy eating and careers in scientific fields.

The conclusion of the project, entitled ‘Recycled Science Meets Art - cancer stem cell research inspired artworks’ saw them exhibit their artwork, which was created using totally recycled materials from the Institute’s laboratory, in the University’s new £30M Haydn Ellis building. The exhibition also helped the students to improve their communication skills and raise their confidence, which resulted in one student saying, "I realised that I could actually do this".

Dr Karen Reed from the European Cancer Stem Cell Research Institute, one of the coordinators of the project said:- "This really has ticked all the boxes for the students who have taken part. Using artwork to explain science has not only brought the subject to life but has inspired them in more ways than they thought possible. The students have totally exceeded my expectations and to hear them come out with such positive comments makes it all completely worthwhile. We may even have some budding scientists in the making."

Geraldine O’ Sullivan, xl Manager for Wales, added: "The group members have become really interested in science and the opportunities it has to offer them as a direct result of this project. I was hugely impressed with the groups’ presentation skills, their knowledge and their infectious enthusiasm. One pupil described it as the most fun they had ever had in a school uniform! I would like to say a huge and heartfelt thank you to for funding this STEM initiative and to the European Cancer Stem Cell Research Institute at Cardiff University for designing such an engaging programme of activity for the group."

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