Our view: Promoting STEM at the roots

January 23, 2019

Across the UK, hundreds of volunteers from a wide range of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) related careers are giving up their time to help bring the STEM subjects to life in- and outside the classroom. Forecasts indicate that the UK will experience a skills shortage in the STEM subjects, so it is important to help in inspiring young people to choose a career in STEM.

At RSK, we have several employees who regularly give up their time to volunteer as STEM Ambassadors. They might give presentations, organise workshops or games sessions or provide mentoring at schools or youth centres or to Girl Guide or Scout groups. This commitment can be as little as one event a year or an hour a week in a local school, but it can play a huge part in inspiring young minds.

RSK graduate environmental consultant Harry Cross is an Ambassador and recently attended his first STEM event with RSK.

“My first event as an RSK STEM Ambassador was part of the 1851 Trust’s #NextGeneration Roadshow, a great initiative that brings unique on-the-water and STEM workshops to sailing clubs across the UK. The event I attended was at the West Kirby Sailing Club in Merseyside, UK, where five local schools were invited to learn about boat designs from Ineos Team UK, specifically, about the boat design they use in the America’s Cup.

“Members from Ineos Team UK’s engineering team explained the engineering principles behind the boat design, from the sails to the hull, that could be applied to the students’ curriculum. I was stationed at the Wings and Sails activity, where students investigated how the Bernoulli equation is applied to sail design and how this design is relates to an aircraft wing. This culminated in a practical activity in which the students were grouped into teams and tasked with designing and creating wing turbine blades from Corflute corrugated polypropylene. Students then competed in teams to see which turbine blade design could generate the highest voltage.

“My job was to provide hands-on assistance throughout the day with the practical task and provide career advice. It was really enjoyable. The students asked me about my educational experiences and day-to-day job at RSK. RSK director David Taylor also attended the event, so it was a great opportunity for both of us to provide an insight into what RSK does and what type of STEM careers are out there.

“Overall, it was a fantastic day learning about incredible engineering and inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers.”

For more information on STEM, please visit the website.