Techniquest Glyndwr shall soon be no more – here’s why!

Over the last 16 years we’ve cemented our name in Wales and the North-West as ‘Techniquest@NEWI’ and latterly ‘Techniquest Glyndwr’, but now we’re crafting our own bespoke identity and need your views.

After months of internal efforts we’ve shortlisted three names to take our brand forward to coincide with moving to our new Science Discovery Centre in the heart of Wrexham.

At the end of June we revealed that we had secured funding to finally achieve our long-held dream of re-locating to the nerve-centre of our community and now a new name and branding will compliment this.

Having used the trade name of Techniquest in Cardiff for almost two decades, we will now look establish our own brand and identity both in Wrexham, North Wales, the North West and further afield.

A major next step is consulting with the general public to receive their feedback in order to gather a favourable outcome for all.

As well as the change in name we'll also be completely changing our branding, which we hope will tie in with not just the aspect of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths) but also the cultural heartbeat of the town in which we love.

To find out what the three names are and get voting simply check out the button below.

 

A Catalan Abroad – My Time With TQG

At the beginning of 2019 Techniquest Glyndwr greeted volunteer Xavi to the centre. The Catalan student has been working with us on various things at TQG but his time here is coming to a close.

Here, Xavi tells us about his experience and the differences between Barcelona and Wrexham.

Hi, I’m Xavi, I graduated from Autonomous University of Barcelona with a degree in environmental biology and, later on, I studied a master’s degree in oceanography and management of the marine environment at University of Barcelona. Even though my academic training, I had never had the chance to work as a biologist in Spain because the unemployment is absolutely shocking, in particular for the youth (32.4%). Furthermore, I didn’t know what to do so as to find a job opportunity in my country related to my education. Despite knowing that it wouldn’t be easy to find something, I was lucky that one day I heard that the European Social Fund (ESF) was giving some scholarships to unemployed people. That’s the main reason why I decided to apply for the scholarship.

Never before had I thought that the ESF would give me the opportunity to work abroad, in that case, in Techniquest Glyndŵr. To be honest, at the beginning I couldn't believe my eyes because the ESF was offering what I was looking for a long time. I’d like to point out that nowadays for non-native English speaking countries, if you want to find decent job, a higher level of English is required. As a result, as you can imagine, non-native English speakers have to invest a lot of money in extra classes in order to improve their English level. So that, as I was saying before, I was really lucky because they offered me to work in Wales forcing me to practise that language everyday.

Regarding my experience in Techniquest Glyndŵr working as a science communicator I must confess that everything is going pretty well. When I first arrived to my new work placement I felt comfortable and motivated. If I had to highlight the most tricky thing, I’d definitely say Welsh employee’s names in addition to their correct pronunciation. Apart from that issue, all the employees are amazing and really friendly. It seems to me that it’s easy to see that they truly enjoy what they are doing and they work hard on it. I think is superb that this charity is composed of a lot of people from different places because it allows me to learn loads of interesting things from them! The schedule is great because everyday is completely different and you don’t know what you will be doing the rest of your day. What’s more, you have the opportunity to interact and talk to different employees and public every day.

If I had to talk about which tasks I do in this science discovery centre, I must admit that I’ve had the chance to do a little bit of everything. For instance, interacting with the public, hosting school groups as part of their education programmes, accompanying the children around the centre, explaining and assisting them with the exhibits, working closely with the staff on the production of their workshops and shows, working alongside with the science communicators on outreach at schools and events, working a little bit as a marketing and communication assistant, working on the till, etc. Therefore, I think I’m very lucky to have had the chance to try each of those tasks. I’ve been working in Techniquest Glyndwr for 3 and a half months and, honestly, I’m happy to see that, even though the language barrier is always there, I haven’t had any problem at all in understanding what they were saying or asking me. Recently, they have asked me if I’d like to present a workshop, which I feel it’s quite challenging for me, especially considering that I’m not an English native speaker. However, I believe that if I practise a lot, I’ll be fine.

Public awareness of science is not an easy task if you want to achieve your goal perfectly, nevertheless, I’m confident that this centre had been working and offering a vast diversity of options and opportunities to promote this field and it’s paying off!

 

Here are just some of the differences between Wales and my home, Barcelona.

 

  • Greeting: It’s funny because in Spain we are use to do two kisses, one in each cheek, and we’ll probably shake your hand as well. So, I think we tend to be closer than Welsh people. What’s more, now I’m getting used to Welsh greeting but, I feel Welsh people tend to be colder.
  • Meal times: The point is that in Spain we’re used to have long meals (1h ish), specially during midday because it allows us to break and disconnect a bit. For that reason, when I came to the UK for the first time, I was impressed how is it possible that people have lunch in less than an hour! I think is quite stunning but, at the same time, not very healthy. However, when you live there, you can easily understand why they tend to eat sandwiches, you don’t have to cook and it’s cheap! Moreover, in Spain we are use to have lunch at 2 pm and dinner at 9 pm, whilst it’s completely different from British schedule.
  • Food: This is definitely the foremost topic that had been worrying me since I’ve been living in Wales. When I was in Spain, I remember one day I was watching the BBC News and they were reporting that nowadays, obesity is a significant health concern. What’s more, they described it as a national emergency! In spite of knowing that it was happening, I couldn’t believe it! I’m confident that for Spanish people it’s easier to keep and have a healthier diet due to the fact that we produce loads of fruits and vegetables, nonetheless, I’ll like to highlight that we don’t have many advertisements promoting junk food. However, to be honest, British baked goods are amazing! No matter which one do you order, that you’ll definitely love it! For example, carrot cakes, Welsh cakes, scones,
  • Supermarkets: Why do you use too much plastic for all kinds of stuff? To be honest, I don’t really understand why vegetables, fruits or any other product, are covered with plastic. I must confess that for some products it’s really important, however, do you think we need a plastic envelope for just four apples for example? As an environmental biologist I’m worried about our ecological footprint and our impact, so that, I hope this policy will change soon. As far as I am aware, some UK supermarkets reduce the precise of those products which are going to be out of day the following day. I strongly feel that this initiative it’s a good alternative not to throw aways loads of food everyday.
  • Pubs: What should I say about this lovely places… Pubs are undoubtedly the best place to feel the real Welsh atmosphere. Not only do they offer you a large variety of pints or ciders, but pubs also provide good food and typical meals after all. I have to admit that I couldn’t believe how expensive are all kinds of drinks in those places, however, I feel it’s kind of normal for Welsh people.

 

Adult Learning at Techniquest Glyndwr

Adult Learners explore science!

In an innovative collaboration between Wrexham County Borough Council Adult & Community Learning and Techniquest Glyndŵr adult learners are able to take part in some hands-on science learning at Wrexham’s science centre on the Glyndŵr University Plas Coch Campus.

The popular science discovery centre is more usually known for its work with schools and its exciting public programme for families with its 65+ interactive exhibits and engaging live science shows.

However, through their 'Skills in the Workplace' adult learners’ programme, the team at Techniquest Glyndŵr are helping local adult learners enjoy a series of problem solving and practical science activities including programming robots.

Today Caitlin Langford and Suzanne Davies, both adult learners from Wrexham, are learning how to programme a LEGO EV3 robot to follow a series of coded instructions in order to navigate an obstacle course safely.

As she showed some photos she had taken on her phone, Caitlin said,

“Yesterday we had a challenge to design and make a roller coaster out of some provided materials - it was fun creating something that actually worked.

Today I had to overcome a bit of fear over robots to programme a mini LEGO robot to go round an obstacle course – although Josh from Techniquest took us through how to programme various instructions it didn’t quite work as well as we hoped, even though the machine managed to go a little way round the course!”

Dawn Pavey, Projects Coordinator with Techniquest Glyndŵr said,

“Around 3 years ago we successfully applied to Wrexham County Borough Council to become one of their approved Adult Community Learning providers.

This has now opened the door for some exciting collaborational work and has enabled us to develop enthusiasm and interest in science amongst local adult learners.

We’re hoping the ‘Skills for the Workplace’ Programme we are currently offering adult learners will really take off once word gets about how fun and useful the sessions are.

Science activities are a great way to practice teamwork, communication and problem solving skills that are essential for most jobs.”

Michelle Wright, Development Officer with Wrexham Adult and Community Learning added:

“The aim of the courses at Techniquest Glyndŵr is to engage learners, who may be reluctant to be in a traditional classroom environment, into fun learning opportunities which, in turn, will help to develop transferable employability skills.

ACL will be looking to develop these courses during the next financial year, opening up more opportunities as the year progresses. Our target participants are 16+ for Essential Skills provision, 18+ for employability training or the over 50’s for social inclusion and digital inclusion.

If any adults in the Wrexham area would like to develop their confidence or need support to overcome any barriers to learning they are experiencing we would love to introduce them to the opportunities that are out there.

Wrexham Adult Community Learning (ACL) Partnership can support adults with advice and guidance to access training courses in community venues right across the Wrexham area.

Please contact me by phone on 07584 335409 or by email at acl@wrexham.gov.uk

Adult Learners are also the focus of Wrexham’s Festival of Learning due to take place in June.

It is hoped to stage a launch event to coincide with Wrexham’s Street Market in the town centre on Saturday May 25th, where it is hoped that Tŷ Pawb will be playing host to a line-up of adult learning taster activities including some science busking from Techniquest Glyndŵr. The event will be giving a flavour of the variety on offer during the month long Festival of Learning which includes a special focus on the UK wide Adult Learners’ Week running from 17th to 23rd June.

With funding provided by the Learning and Work Institute, the Festival has been developed by Wrexham Glyndŵr University in conjunction with Wrexham County Borough Council to involve a wide variety of local organisations in offering an enticing menu of community based informal learning opportunities to engage with adult learners.

Sarah Gaffney, Widening Access Coordinator at Wrexham Glyndŵr University commented,

“Through working with partners including Techniquest Glyndwr, WCBC, Advanced Brighter Futures, The Denbigh Workshop and Coleg Cambria, taster sessions will be delivered across the borough in various community venues.

The idea is to increase participation in learning from hard to reach families and adults by promoting local courses, and enabling people who might not have considered returning to learning to experience classes ranging from Mindfulness to Maths to Making Hanging Baskets!

All sessions are free and we hope to launch the Festival of Learning at the Wrexham Street Festival on Sat 25th May to promote all the sessions.”

Techniquest Glyndwr Hierarchy Defend Slime Backlash

Senior Techniquest Glyndwr officials have today fought back against criticism of the Science Discovery Centre recruiting staff as young as four years of age.

Reports which broke in the last week in the Daily Slime, which has made claims that the Wrexham based centre is actively recruiting children to work for them in a ‘goo’ based environment have finally received comment amidst much speculation.

Centre manager Scot Owen hit out at critics who’ve lambasted the move by calling for an end to ‘tabloid tittle-tattle’.

“This may be an unorthodox practice but Techniquest Glyndwr believes in setting the trend in regards to employment opportunities in North Wales” said Owen.

“We’ve searched far and wide for the best Slime testers in the country but nobody fit the bill.

“After exhausting the recruitment process we finally made a breakthrough when one of our younger visitors began making the most incredible progress with our disgusting slime.

“After much negotiation the young man in question finally accepted our offer of two bags of sweets and a company toy car to join the team”.

The last week has seen numerous comments under the social media hashtag #MyTQG of varying opinion from positive responses to cries of ‘where are the parents in all of this?’

Clair Griffiths, a senior slime officer with Techniquest Glyndwr has called for calm in the media slime-storm.

“This has taken much of the media’s attention in the last few days but it’s vital to remember that we’ve made some amazing breakthroughs” said Griffiths.

“Hari has already made massive progress and helped cement our place further as a must see venue in not just North Wales, but the world”.

It’s also believed that the official World Records Committee revealed that four-year old Hari Williams had created the gooiest slime on record, beating that of 6 year old Sally Evans who hit headlines in 2005.

It’s as yet unclear what the next steps will be as this story develops, but it’s believed that Techniquest Glyndwr have arranged for interviews with numerous children in the coming days ahead of the biggest Slime Event in decades.

However, potential employees are encouraged to apply for the role below.

 

There will be no further comment at this time.

 

ENDS

The Seagull that Went to Space

On this day in 1937 one of the most key figures in the history of space travel and the Soviet Union was born, helping to change the perception of women in science and bringing to life a national hero.

Valentina Tereshkova is a Soviet woman from a poor family who up until her early 20’s had spent her life working in a tyre factory before seven years in a spinning mill. Her parents migrated to central Russia from Belarus whilst her father was killed in the Second World War. Yet with what was a common troubled life for women in her country at the time she went on to become the first female cosmonaut in history.

Tereshkova always had an eye for the spectacular, having left school aged 16 with a minimal education she began night classes as a technician whilst working in the mill but her more daring side veered her towards what would become her more adrenaline fuelled activity, sky-diving.

Her thirst for heights intensified with every jump and as the Space Race between the Soviets and the United States grew she began to follow a new hero in Yuri Gargarin. In 1961 he became the first man in space in what was a huge triumph for the country, and now she set her sights on the ultimate trip. After over 100 sky-dives she applied for the Space Agency.

At the time the SU were looking to bring in female Cosmonauts and Tereshkova was one of four chosen for the gruelling training programme. In what was at times a hellish regime she came through successfully, the only one of the four and was now set for the Vostok 6 craft to launch her into the unknown.

With no prior piloting or university education she was sent into space solo with nothing but a small capsule and the code name ‘seagull’.

 

Love Space? Astronomy Club ends this weekend! Don't miss out...

 

She departed earth on June 16th 1963 and orbited earth 48 times in the space of 72 hours, returning on June 19th as a national hero.

A landmark occasion for women in science and a key moment in the space race, we today celebrate her 82nd birthday. Awarded the ‘Hero of the Soviet Union’ award shortly afterwards, she appeared as a national hero before moving into politics later in life.

However, she would never see out another mission opting to leave the agency shortly after the mission.

She remains one of Russia/Soviet Union’s most inspirational daughters and is a pioneer for the cosmonauts/astronauts who followed, with the next woman in space coming two decades later.

 

Grant enables local schools to design robot vehicles

Techniquest Glyndŵr is celebrating after receiving a £4,970.46 grant from the Institution of Engineering and Technology and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

Techniquest Glyndŵr, engages over 72,000 people each year with hands-on activities, both at its science discovery centre in Wrexham and through an extensive outreach programme across the region.

The ‘Engineering the Future’ project will develop and deliver a new driverless vehicle workshop for schools using CrumbleBots robot kits, together with help from local engineers.

The Engineering Education Grant Scheme (EEGS), which is run by the Institution of Engineering and Technology and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, aims to engage young people aged 5-19 in learning about engineering and to develop the professional skills of those involved in supporting Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics learning and careers awareness.

Dawn Pavey, Projects and Fundraising Coordinator at Techniquest Glyndŵr, said: “We are excited to be collaborating with engineers to create a new workshop for our primary and secondary programmes. The grant is also supporting our annual schools’ event in June celebrating International Women in Engineering Day, which many local engineers volunteer at to inspire more female students to consider careers in engineering.”

Peter Finegold, Head of Education and Skills at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said: “The Engineering the Future project is a fantastic example of the kind of projects the EEGS scheme aims to promote. The UK is facing a critical engineering skills shortage and showing young people how creative and exciting engineering can be is a key way of inspiring the engineers of tomorrow.”

David Lakin, Head of Education at the Institution of Engineering and Technology, said: “In order to tackle the engineering skills gap we need more graduates and apprentices to enter the profession, and this can only happen if more school-age children – girls as well as boys – are attracted to, and choose to study Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths subjects. The IET is investing considerable resource in EEGS to support vital projects like Engineering the Future, which highlight the exciting, creative and rewarding world of engineering careers to young people.”

Organisations capable of developing and delivering UK-based educational activities are eligible to apply to the EEGS scheme.

There are two levels of funding available. Awards of up to £5,000 are available for standard applications to the fund, and up-to-four awards of £15,000 are available each year.

How would you like to find yourself with a free pass to enjoy a day at Techniquest Glyndwr? What if we told you that you could do this over and over again?

We’ve teamed up with Wrexham Rewards to give you the chance to earn a free trip with the simple tap of your smartphone.

Wrexham rewards is a great app which helps you not only earn freebies and discounts but be able to find and contact local businesses in the area.

It works like any loyalty card with the added benefit of actually having the chance to complete it without it falling out of your purse or surviving any clear out of clutter from your bag.

Every time you visit the centre you just need to scan the code at the front desk and it adds to your account, once you’ve scanned seven times (that’s one per person) the next person goes free! If you come in a group of four you’ll get four scans for that visit! Measuring per person and not per trip this is a great opportunity for you to take advantage of a great reward.

Fancy starting your own? Download Wrexham Rewards and come on down!