STEM teachers invited to development day with talks from sector leaders

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STEM teachers and school staff from across the region attended a life sciences industry day at Charnwood Campus Science, Innovation and Technology Park focused on highlighting careers opportunities for students within the sector. This immersive event in collaboration with the LLEP Careers Hub was developed to assist teachers and teaching assistants working in Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics engaged directly with local and global employers in the life sciences sector.

The event, made up of talks and demonstrations, helped secondary school and FE college staff learn more about options on offer to students wanting to follow a career in the STEM sector. It is one of the Teacher Encounter Days that make up part of the We Discover programme, which is managed by the LLEP Careers Hub, whose work has been recently highlighted in the Careers Hub Impact report 2018-23.

The day was opened by the Rt Hon Baroness Morgan of Cotes and Chair of the Careers and Enterprise Company, Baroness Morgan spoke about the importance of careers and business-education links, with particular focus on embedding careers in the curriculum a theme for the day.

Representatives from the Charnwood Campus Life Sciences Talent and Skills Institute (LS TSI); Almac Group, Charnwood Molecular, Kindeva Drug Delivery, and Weiss Technic took part in a panel discussion chaired by Darren Clark from Medilink Midlands and spent the day working with the teachers on various activities. Several apprentices and T-level students also joined to showcase their experiences and highlight some of the technical/vocational training routes and opportunities with companies onsite and in the wider Charnwood Campus Cluster.

One of the laboratories was converted into an interactive marketplace featuring the firms attending and teachers were able to participate in some very exciting demonstrations, including an artificial lung demonstrator, tablet sorting as part of manufacturing pharmaceutical products, an environmental stability chamber essential for quality assurance testing in pharma, engineering or manufacturing, and drug discovery using molecular modelling and artificial intelligence.

The LLEP Careers Hub used the event to launch its Life Sciences World of Work resource.

Nicky Morgan, Chair of The Careers & Enterprise Company (CEC) said: “Teacher Encounters are expanding further that vital bridge between the worlds of education and employment.

This fantastic Leicester programme will provide teachers with valuable insight into the STEM sector – vital to the economic growth of the region and country. It will help teachers understand more about the STEM jobs, skills sets and pathways of today, so they can build this learning back into lessons, linking their subjects to workplace skills. At a time when skills are at a premium for business, it will also help local Leicestershire firms play a role in developing the talent on their doorstep.

This year, CEC’s Teacher Encounters initiative will see more than 1,000 teachers across the country take time out of the classroom and spend time in the business environment. This will bring careers conversations closer to the mainstream of school life, supporting young people to take their best next step into rewarding careers.”

Gosia Khrais, Commercial Director at Charnwood Campus said: “We have been delighted to host the STEM focused Teacher Encounter Day, in partnership with the Life Science Talent and Skills Institute, part of our recently launched Cluster Support Platform, and the LLEP Careers Hub. Within Leicester and Leicestershire, our growing, successful life sciences sector accounts for 14,200 jobs. Being able to develop, retain and attract life science skills in the region is essential for our flourishing life sciences cluster and it is crucial that business and educational centres work together to deliver this, from early STEM engagement to further and higher education.”

Gerarde Manley, Leicester and Leicestershire’s Careers Hub’s Strategic Lead, said: “This partnership brings teachers from across the region to hear from the sector about how important the life sciences is to our local economy and the career pathways available to our young people. This event is a great opportunity to meet peers, discuss ideas and network. This is the first time we have held a large-scale teacher encounters event and we are delighted with the attendance and feedback.”

Dr Darren Clark, Deputy Chair of Medilink Midlands, added: “It was a pleasure to facilitate an important panel discussion with representatives from the Charnwood Campus Life Sciences Talent and Skills Institute, to showcase to local teachers and students the wide array of career opportunities available to young people across the life sciences, as well as explore future skills needs and ways of encouraging more students to consider a career in STEM. The Midlands sits at the heart of the UK’s thriving life sciences sector and offers a range of highly skilled job opportunities. Medilink Midlands is proud to represent all aspects of this industry and play a part in inspiring the next generation of scientists.”

James Hurst, VP Operations & Charnwood Site Head, Almac Pharma Services commented: “Almac Group’s mission is to improve patients’ lives globally therefore we are committed to inspiring the future generation of scientists, technologists and engineers about careers in the pharmaceutical sector.   We also appreciate the key role teachers have in influencing young people about their potential career paths which is why we were delighted to participate in the We Discover Life Sciences Teacher Encounter Day on site.  We look forward to supporting the important work carried out by the LLEP Careers Hub and Charnwood Campus Life Sciences Talent and Skills Institute to promote the many rewarding careers available to young people in the region.”

Shona Farmer, Marketing Manager at Charnwood Molecular commented: “We know how important it is for students of all ages to have exposure to careers in STEM and understand the pathways to achieving this. We were delighted to support this important event where teachers could hear, first hand, from our scientists about their own experiences in pursuing a career in life sciences.”

Helen Derbyshire, R&D Staff Scientist, Kindeva Drug Delivery said: “Kindeva Drug Delivery was delighted to engage in this event as one of our STEM outreach activities with schools, organisations and young people.  The Teacher Encounter Day was an important event as it afforded us the opportunity to interact with teachers across the region to inform them of the wide variety of careers in the Life Sciences.  Kindeva is committed to heightening awareness of these great opportunities that Apprenticeships and T-levels provide for both the students and the companies who participate.  It was truly wonderful to have been able to work together as part of the Charnwood Campus LSTSI to share the breadth of opportunities available to young people who are interested in Life Sciences.” 

Malcolm Youll, Managing Director, Weiss Technik UK commented: “At Weiss Technik we want to ensure that we recruit the best talent in the region. Therefore, being able to connect with our STEM teachers and impart what we are looking for in excellent candidates and to share our experiences of developing an apprenticeship position have been very valuable.  We look forward to working through the LS TSI to engage further with the STEM agenda and help grow opportunities within the region for our next STEM generation.”

Lucy Alexander, Head of Business Development, Charnwood Campus said: “It is estimated that our region will need approximately 51,000 new recruits in STEM related subjects by 2030, therefore early STEM engagement is a priority for the LS TSI. We still have space on campus for new companies to grow, and we all know how essential a growing talent pool is for successful companies. Please contact us on if you would like to hear more.”

All attendees benefited from take-away teacher resource for their classrooms including a local labour market guide for young people, video, quiz and guides for life sciences and other supporting material from our partners.

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