Students from Derbyshire schools have been combining outdoor adventure with industry visits to discover how science can help them secure a future career.
A pilot programme backed by local businesses and run at White Hall Centre has already given students from New Mills School and the council’s Virtual School a taste for a career in science.
The centre has put together a programme of science-based activities related to the Key Stage Three curriculum for 11-14 year-olds, combined with visits to see science in action in industry at Avanti Conveyors in Furness Vale and the Nestlé Waters plant just outside Buxton. The programme included bush-craft, climbing, mountain biking and canoeing.
The pilot programme is the first of its kind in the country and has been funded by Avanti Conveyors Ltd of Furness Vale and Costain, one of the UK’s leading civil engineering companies. It is also supported by Nestlé Waters and by physics charity The Ogden Trust.
Andy Liles, Finance Director at Avanti Conveyors Ltd, said: “Anything we can do to try and stimulate an interest in these subjects can only be a good thing for us and the wider UK economy.” Helen Pollard, consultant for physics charity The Ogden Trust said: “The engagement of the students was obvious. They took advantage of tours in small groups, and opportunities to talk to staff who were keen to explain their work, and different career paths available.”
Scott Reid, Environment & Sustainability Officer at Nestlé Waters, said: “Nestlé Waters are committed to supporting our local community. We have a state-of-the-art factory here in Buxton, which is one of Europe’s most innovative and efficient bottling facilities. We were delighted to have taken part in the pilot scheme and hope that by visiting our factory and speaking to some of our employees the students were inspired to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and maths.”
Tim Williams, head of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics at New Mills Secondary School said: “The children really benefitted from being able to visualise and experience scientific principles in a fun and interesting way, and the industrial site visit gave it all context as to what can be done with science. The whole experience has really stuck with them.”
If your school or academy would like to take part in a similar programme of activities, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01298 23260.
We’re also interested in hearing from organisations that would be interested in sponsoring a future programme.