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North Wales businesses and Glyndŵr University aim to inspire take-up of careers in science and technology

02 September 2010
Businesses and Glyndwr University help inspire pupils to take up science careers

Schoolchildren from across north Wales got to grips with making chocolate, paper and robots as they were given a taste of careers in science from some of north Wales’ leading businesses.

More than 148 pupils – accompanied by teachers- from seven schools in Wrexham, Flintshire and Denbighshire took part in the interactive event at Glyndŵr University.

The taster day, designed to inspire students to think about careers in the STEM subjects, science, technology, engineering and maths, featured 13 different activities delivered by industry powerhouses including Cadbury, Lego, Scottish Power, Shotton Paper and Daresbury Laboratories.

Experts from Glyndŵr University and Techniquest Glyndŵr also delivered talks and presentations.

Andy Jones, Partnerships Coordinator at Techniquest Glyndŵr, said: “The event was a great success. All of the students and teachers thoroughly enjoyed themselves and this is largely thanks to the great support which we had from businesses in north Wales and the local region.

"The idea of a STEM taster day was to give pupils an opportunity to be inspired by science, to think about everyday problems where science could play a part in the solution, and to go away thinking about the sorts of careers available to them in science and engineering related industry.

"Following the event, one of the students who took part reported that they had “been inspired to start a career in science” – exactly the sort of response which we had hoped for.”

Pupils from the same school were split up into groups and spent the day trying three of the 13 different sessions.  All schools had groups that experienced all the activities available.

Some of the most popular included Cadbury’s ‘Bean to Bar’, a practical activity involving the tempering of chocolate, and an interactive display from Scottish Power which showed pupils how electricity is distributed across the UK - and how the company is alerted to any faults in the system.

UPM – Shotton Paper provided an activity on paper making and properties of paper and was represented by four apprentices who also talked to students about their jobs and why they chose such a career.

Dacta, Lego & RM provided activities relating physics to the motion of model cars and an activity with a programmable robot, which proved very popular with participants.

Daresbury Laboratories demonstrated the power of light through an interactive display.

Techniquest Glyndŵr and Glyndŵr University provided activities on various STEM topics from digital technology to forensic science to performance car technology.

As well as industry partners, the event was supported by the Industrial Trust and Reaching Higher, Reaching Wider, an organisation which aims to increase higher education participation through raising aspirations.

Reaching Wider spokesperson, Sarah Al-Assaf said: “It was a fabulous day and highlighted the fact that there are many paths your career can take you in these subject areas. There are some big industries on our doorstep, and it was great for the pupils to have a taste of what a varied arena they could find themselves working in the future if they continue to pursue the STEM subjects either at further and higher education level, or indeed via a work-based learning route.”

Director for Business in the Community Wales, Owen Evans, said that the business community have a big role to play in working closely with the education sector to tackle future skills shortages in Wales.

“We must equip today’s schoolchildren, our future workforce, with the right skills so they can fulfil the green jobs of the future,” he said. “By addressing this now we improve the long-term sustainability of businesses operating in north Wales and safeguard employment in the region.

"Business in the Community is facilitating a growing network of organisations committed to working in partnership with the education sector to tackle these issues and we’re very pleased to see the progress made in engaging and inspiring local pupils, our future workforce, through this latest event.”

Jackie Pearson, Mill Controller, UPM Shotton Paper said: “UPM is delighted to have been able to support the event. Engaging with our future young engineers is critical to attracting talented youngsters to our business – highlighting our frontrunner position in delivering renewable and sustainable solutions."

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