Wavemaker is a non-profit community makerspace in the heart of North Staffordshire, where people can come together with professionals to make, play, think, learn and grow. It inspires and supports makers, artists and entrepreneurs and in turn grows communities and businesses in Stoke-on-Trent and beyond. The team teaches a range of transferable skills in order to develop employees and leaders of tomorrow.
Ben is the CEO at Wavemaker Stoke and his focus is on the delivery of life-long digital skills to audiences who are unable to engage in a traditional educational setting.
"Wavemaker changes the landscape of Stoke-on-Trent for young aspiring designer makers and professionals. It gets more people playing, making and selling. North Staffordshire is primed for a space like Wavemaker and we see great potential in new approaches to learning and bridging the digital skills gap. It’s a huge vision and to get the backing and support from Nominet Trust and Comic Relief is a seal of approval."
Ben McManus, CEO, Wavemaker
According to Wavemaker CEO, Ben McManus: “There is a huge digital deficit in Stoke and many young people still have limited access to tech, training and devices. If Stoke cannot overcome this digital depression, the younger generation of Stoke won’t be prepared for the world.”
The aim of the project
Wavemaker equips kids for the future in a fun and engaging environment. It aims to empower young people, businesses and local communities from deprived areas by providing unparalleled access to cutting-edge technology, equipment and resources. Wavemaker promotes learning, entrepreneurialism and growth in and around Stoke-on-Trent and hopes to boost employability in the region.
With technical training sessions spanning creative coding, 3D printing and digital design, Wavemaker acts as a hub for school workshops and public classes. The ‘makerspace’ provides access to a variety of making and prototyping tools and equipment. The space is also available for entrepreneurs to hire to stimulate the area’s start-up economy.
£300k of investment from Nominet Trust and Comic Relief covered the cost of state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment such as a laser cutter and 3D printer. It enabled Wavemaker to hire staff, rent premises and recruit volunteers. It has also fast-tracked the ability to manage the centre and run events. Those who have made use of the Wavemaker facilities and skills say they are ‘impressed and amazed by the proficient and personable service, the access to equipment, knowledge and patience, and the skill and ability to communicate’.