A Busy Week for the E&I STEM Programme!


It’s been another very busy week here at the Education and Industry STEM Programme, with team members working in partnership with two of our local FE Colleges to deliver four sector-focused taster days for local secondary school students.

First up this week was PROCAT’s Engineering Taster Day, with students from Shenfield School coming along to the Basildon campus for a morning of industry and academic-led workshops and presentations all serving to highlight this key sector in Essex.

PROCAT have some fantastic links with employers across the county, which resulted in representatives of Leonardo UK, JW Froehlich and Honeywell taking part in the day, working with students and imparting some valuable information and advice to students about careers in the Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing sector. The start of the day saw Karen Tinnams from PROCAT talking to students about engineering jobs and qualifications available at the college. Students took the ‘People Like Me’ quiz, with help from Toby at JW Froehlich and Jackie at Honeywell, who talked about their route into the sector and gave a clear message about the importance of maths and English qualifications when pursuing engineering careers. Jackie talked about how the company had recently had 154 applications for just 13 Advanced Apprenticeship places, thus reinforcing the message about students putting themselves in the best possible position when applying for future jobs. Students then got the chance to work with Ollie and Lochlan from Leonardo UK who used a marble-related challenge to demonstrate to attendees the need to think differently to solve problems, and then to get their hands on some of the fantastic equipment at the College, making their own keyrings that they could then take home as a souvenir of the day, guided by Rick Nelson and Meghan Eves from PROCAT itself!

Friday’s Construction Taster Day, again at PROCAT, saw support this time from Carole at Morgan Sindall. Once again students from Shenfield and Billericay Schools gathered to hear about construction-related careers and the courses on offer at the college, as well as to participate in hands-on activities with support from PROCAT staff. The message from Morgan Sindall and PROCAT to attendees remained the same despite the change in sector-focus, from engineering to construction, and students once again really enjoyed the activities laid on by the college for the event. Pupils worked with experienced PROCAT staff in the electrical workshop to learn how to bend piping and on a bridge-building challenge, using marshmallows and spaghetti!

Both PROCAT events saw an increase in interest in careers in the sectors in question, and feedback from staff and students was fantastic. We’ll be working with PROCAT in years to come to make sure that these same pupils continue to learn about the sectors and, one day, choose to go to this Essex-based college to further their respective careers.

In between the PROCAT events, we were delighted to work with the team at Harlow College to lay on Digital and Media-focused days, for students in years 7 to 9 on the Tuesday and those in years 10 to 13 on the Wednesday. Students from St. Martins School in Brentwood and Stewards Academy and Passmores in Harlow joined us for two days led by Harlow College staff and representatives of the Media Trust, on behalf of YouTube.

With Harlow College being recognised recently as an ‘Apple Distinguished School’ – awarded, amongst other things, for ‘instilling and developing digital confidence in line with industry needs’ – the day was a fantastic opportunity for students to get a feel for the amazing facilities on offer to learners at the college. The day’s activity took place in the impressive ‘Ihub’ and students worked using college Ipads to shoot, create and edit content for high-quality vlogs, with support from Harlow College Media students and the Media Trust team.

Students also heard about the courses on offer at Harlow College relating to the Digital and Creative sector. Feedback from school staff was fantastic  and once again we’ll be looking to work with the same schools – in partnership with Harlow College -  to ensure that student interest in the sector is built upon over the next two to three years, as students begin to make more concrete decisions over their future careers.

Our huge thanks go to both Harlow College and PROCAT for laying on such exciting events over the week, to each of the schools that sent their students and staff along, to the students themselves for their efforts over the four days, and of course to the industry representatives that kindly took time out of their busy working schedules to support local colleges and school students. Keep an eye on the ‘events’ page here at www.essexesb.co.uk for information on future events with both colleges, as well as those planned with the likes of Colchester Institute, South Essex College and Havering College, as well as our local Universities.