Work with us to inspire and inform young people about STEM careers

Working in science and tech in Oxfordshire? Would you, or your company, like to engage with local schools to inspire young people about careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) while also raising the profile of your line of work or business? Collaborating with Science Oxford, which delivers our education programmes, our STEM World of Work scheme gives you and your business loads of opportunities to engage with young people and inspire them about STEM careers.

STEM World of Work enables businesses and STEM professionals to engage with school students in an increasingly meaningful way throughout their secondary schooling – increasing their knowledge of the STEM sector, developing skills, and encouraging them to consider STEM careers and opportunities. Science Oxford will provide you with the training, opportunities and connections you need to work effectively with schools and students – whether that’s helping to develop activities, facilitating your participation in events or even giving you the heads-up on how to communicate with teenagers!

For example, we’ve recently worked with Laing O’Rouke, the main contractor for Oxford’s new Westgate Centre, who were committed to working with local schools to raise awareness of careers in the construction industry. We helped them run a cranes workshop for Year 9 students, host half-day visits to local Laing sites, and extended work experience opportunities for Year 12 students so they could find out what working in a STEM business is really like. As one student said of his apprentice placement with Laing: “The knowledge and understanding that I’ve gained while at Laing O’Rourke trumps any other experience I’ve had in a work environment.”

Read on. We’ve got loads of opportunities for you to get involved…..

 

STEM work placements

We run work placements with local companies for students aged 16–17 who are thinking about pursuing a STEM career. There are two kinds of placements. Research placements last 3 –4 weeks and students undertake a research project. Apprentice placements are 2 –4 weeks long and students get the chance to experience different departments in an organisation and meet and work with current apprentices. These work placements are incredibly valuable and help students to make informed choices about careers in STEM. We are now looking for local science and tech companies to host student placements this summer. You’ll be in good company: BMWMini, Olamalu, Wood plc, Oxford Computer Consultants, Beard Construction and the Nuffield Department of Obstetrics are already signed-up to this year’s programme. As one apprentice placement provider said: “We view the placement programmes as an important aspect of the work we do with young people and a helpful way to raise knowledge of apprenticeship opportunities.”

 

STEM workplace visits

We also organise STEM workplace visits to local STEM businesses for groups of up to twenty students, aged 14–16. Even though they are only a half, these visits give students an amazing opportunity to be part of a different environment and to learn about the skills STEM employers are looking for. One of our students said: “I’ve learned about careers I had previously no idea about and alternative career paths to uni.”

 

STEM work experience weeks

Four times a year, to coincide with Year 10 work experience weeks in schools, we organise a full week of workplace visits for up to twenty students aged 14–16. These weeks give them an excellent opportunity to experience a wide range of different STEM businesses and meet the people who work there.

 

STEM career days

Our in-school STEM career days offer students aged 11–13 an early opportunity to improve their knowledge and understanding of STEM, engage with local employers and develop work-related skills. We do this by running STEM challenge days, which involve students working on a practical problem-solving activity, mentored by a business volunteer. One of our favourite challenges is the “squashed tomato challenge” where groups of students design, create and test a way of moving tomatoes that won’t squash them! It builds skills in working as team, marketing as well as finance. Or, we run a carousel programme of 4-–5 interactive workshops, also delivered by business volunteers, and related to a STEM topic or skill.

If you are working in STEM, or are a local STEM business and interested in joining our World of Work programme, please contact us at [email protected] or give us a call on 01865 810014. We are looking for businesses to host work placements, workplace visits and experience days; and we’d like to link up with any business volunteers to support our career days in local schools. With your help, we want to show young people that science can be cool, can lead to an amazing career, and can change lives. Help us inspire the next generation of scientists and innovators.