Professor Margaret Low and Dr Phil Jemmett both led sessions at the holiday workshops designed to bring all areas of science - including mathematics, computing and engineering - to life for 9 to 14 year olds.
Professor Margaret Low’s session was a fun and creative introduction to programming using TurtleStitch. TurtleStitch is free, easy to use, and generates patterns that can be stitched by embroidery machines, enabling the creation of physical things from code.
At Dr Phil Jemmett’s session he asked, ‘Where is engineering?’ Dr Jemmett explained how every product, tool, device and service relies on engineers designing, refining and creating solutions to problems. Students used programmable electronics and sensors, and had the opportunity to make a product for the future.
Dr Phil Jemmett, Widening Participation Co-ordinator at WMG, University of Warwick, said: “The Royal Institution has centuries of tradition in educating people about science in a fun and engaging way. We are so proud to have supported the holiday workshop programme for another year, and continue to work with one of the most famous scientific bodies in the world. What better place to showcase the engineering and innovation that WMG is part of in building the future? We aimed to show people how simple it can be to start to create their own projects, whether making a smart city for the future, or controlling an embroidery machine in Margaret’s workshop. And it really showed in the engagement of the students in the activities – the things they were able to build in one day were mind-blowing.”
Professor Margaret Low, Director of Outreach and Widening Participation at WMG, University of Warwick, showed her commitment to making science accessible: “Science, engineering, mathematics, and computer science are not traditionally seen as being fun subjects to dip into. With these workshops we were able to provide an inspiring introduction for young people, and perhaps set them on a path to becoming scientists or engineers in the future. Working in partnership between a university and a public body like the Ri is a good example of how we can create opportunities for young people to discover what they want to do, and be empowered to achieve it.”
Peter Gallivan, Family Programme Manager, at the Royal Institution, explains: “Holiday Workshops at the Royal Institution are one of the main ways we work with young people, welcoming around 2,000 young people across the summer to get hands-on exploring STEM subjects. The sessions run by Margaret and Phil are some of my favourites, as they showcase how creativity and imagination are important skills used by scientists and engineers. It was a delight to see their sessions packed full of excited young scientists happily working together to solve a variety of engineering challenges. How else would you want to spend your summer holidays?!”
Find out more about WMG’s Outreach programmes here: https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/wmg/about/outreach/
On Tuesday 25th April, the Outreach Team at WMG, University of Warwick hosted an Engineering Industry Day.
The Team welcomed 200, year 9 and 10, students who were identified by their teachers as students, from groups under-represented in engineering and STEM careers, with an interest and a potential to do well in those subjects.
The students came from schools across the region including Eden Girls School Coventry; WMG Academy for Young Engineers in Coventry and Solihull; Colmers School and Sixth Form College; Nicholas Chamberlaine School; Lyndon School; Harris Church of England Academy; Barr’s Hill School and Community College; and KEVI Northfield School for Girls.
The group was welcomed by Professor David Greenwood, the CEO of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult and Director for Industrial Engagement at WMG, before being taken on a tour of the STEM facilities on campus.
Along with their teachers, they met academics and students, and heard about the research being carried out by the High Value Manufacturing Catapult; WMG and the School of Engineering. WMG Technical Services and the apprentices demonstrated their skills, and the Student Project teams - Warwick Racing and Warwick Mobile Robotics - showcased their work and shared their experience of studying engineering.
Participants also met with local companies including Jaguar Land Rover; Tata Motors; Aston Martin; National Grid ESO; Balfour Beatty; Wates; Willmott Dixon; National Grid; Tarmac and 3P Innovation, who provided them with advice and guidance about the skills and knowledge required to become an engineer.
They also received information about a range of support available from the Degree Apprenticeship Team; Student Funding; the Warwick Scholars Access Programme; the Sutton Trust Pathways to Engineering; the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Educational Programme and the Engineering Development Trust Programme.
WMG’s Outreach Project Officer, Marie Diebolt, who organised the event, explained: “With these types of events, and across our outreach activities, we work with our partners to close the engineering skills gap and inspire young people to pursue careers in STEM. We purposely timed the event to coincide with students selecting their GCSE subjects to enable them to make an informed choice and inspire them to consider a range of careers in engineering.”
Professor David Greenwood added: “We know that the UK manufacturing sector has a big skills gap – which WMG is keen to fill. Events like these help to shine a spotlight on the exciting career prospects in manufacturing – thanks to advances in digitalisation, automation and sustainability. The opportunity to speak to potential future engineers was a privilege, and the event was a great success.”
Find out more about WMG’s Outreach programme here: Public engagement and Outreach (warwick.ac.uk)
Two further events had also been planned for around 400 more students, but these had to be postponed due to the snow.
British Science Week is a ten-day celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths; and is a chance to look into the future and celebrate the impact scientific ideas can make on society. In support, the Outreach Team took part in the University of Warwick’s ‘Slice of Science;’ hosted science days at local schools, while WMG’s Jianhua Yang, Tudor Dodoiu, Iyabo Adamu and Marcelle Batson-Warner took part in Robot Day Coventry.
At Slice of Science, the University welcomed over 350 people. The Outreach Team ran an area called ‘Experience Engineering’ which featured science experiments, the opportunity to write code to control a digital embroidery machine, the navigation of robotic vehicles through a maze, an interactive puzzle showing the electronics inside a car, aerodynamics experiments and more.
WMG’s Director of Outreach and Widening Participation, Professor Margaret Low, explained: “These experiences allow students to see how their school learning applies to complicated and world-changing technologies. Through our outreach programmes we hope to inspire young people to pursue careers in STEM, widen participation in Higher Education and make the STEM workforce more diverse.”
WMG’s Widening Participation Co-ordinator, Dr Phil Jemmett, added: “WMG and the High Value Manufacturing Catapult have outreach activities that are designed to give students a sense of ownership, since there are always elements they can re-create or try out at home. All the experiments we use in science shows or at public events are written up on our website under WMG Experiments, and we show the audience how it all works.
“It’s never magic – this is something anyone can do if they put their mind to it. We want to show people how exciting science and engineering can be, and that anyone can be an engineer.”
Find out more about WMG’s Outreach programme here: Public engagement and Outreach (warwick.ac.uk)
The event, organised by the WMG Outreach Team and chaired by WMG’s Executive Chair Margot James, took place on Friday (10th February).
The expert panel, including Dr Claire Dancer; Antonia Betzou; Dr Elspeth Keating; Farah Villa Lopez; Magdalena Cieslak and Rupika Gulati, hosted a lively discussion with the girls about the highs and lows as a ‘woman in science.’
Each of the scientists shared their own personal journey and explained what had inspired them to pursue a career in science.
Margot James, WMG’s Executive Chair, said: “It's no secret that women have historically struggled because of the gender gap in STEM. We’re extremely passionate about this, and through our Outreach programme we are committed to build links with local schools and the community to provide role models that can help create a more equitable future.
“It was an absolute pleasure to meet such an inspiring group of girls, and I know our female scientists have helped to motivate them in their future career choices.”
A year 10 student from Eden Girls School added: “ I really enjoyed the science engineering workshop because it allowed me to understand what options are available to me after secondary school.
“Having women speak about their accomplishments and experiences really inspired me into thinking more about science, and trying my hardest to be able to achieve great things like they have. I learned so much and enjoyed everything.”
WMG at the University of Warwick’s Widening Participation Co-ordinator, Dr Phil Jemmett, delivered important sustainability advice to Santa, at a special interactive Christmas Lecture.
De-carbonisation of the transport network is a key area for researchers at WMG, so it seemed only sensible to offer advice to Santa on a more sustainable approach.
Dr Jemmett explained: “With the population across the world increasing and carbon emissions in the air, we really need to help Santa become more environmentally friendly.
“We looked at different motor models including petrol, diesel and electric, and invited volunteers on to stage to play a game that demonstrates efficiency. We had a Team Petrol and Team Electric – each using a winch to lift stockings into the air for Santa to deliver, with Team Electric winning the race!”
Claire Edwards, who was a guest at the lecture said: “I don’t come to the Christmas Lectures with a child, I bring my 84-year-old father who is a massive fan of the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures and enjoys Warwick’s just as much.”
Find out more about WMG’s Outreach work here.
According to recent reports, the UK needs around 800,000 more technicians and apprentices to meet the demand in the economy for the sort of practical science jobs to boost innovation and economic growth. This is why WMG, University of Warwick, is supporting the Gatsby Charitable Foundation’s Technicians: We Make the Difference campaign.
Technicians are making a difference across society, doing exciting and interesting jobs in almost all industries; from making a life-saving vaccine to working behind the scenes at a music festival. It's their balance of scientific, engineering, or technological knowledge, along with skills such as attention to detail and critical thinking, that makes technicians special.
WMG employs more than 50 technicians, including Engineering Technician, Bethany Haynes and Battery Technician, Divyesh Mistry who feature as case studies on Gatsby’s new Technicians: We Make the Difference website.
You can hear more from Bethany here: Bethany Haynes, Engineering Manufacturing Technician | Technicians and Divyesh here: Divyesh Mistry, Battery Technician | Technicians as they share their experiences with the aim to inspire more young people to consider technical careers.
Bethany Haynes, Engineering Technician based in WMG, at the University of Warwick’s SME Team, says: “This is such an amazing project to be a part of as it is so important for young people to be aware of the technical roles out there. I love the fact that there is a technical role that will harness and encourage the majority of skillsets, especially practical skills. I have always been a technician and genuinely love my job, yet at school I was always told I needed to go to university and have a degree to have a good job.
“Technicians: We Make the Difference shows that you can have a career with or without a degree. I’m looking forward to visiting the Science Museum next weekend and seeing all the cool things other technicians are doing.”
Divyesh Mistry, Mechanical Technician based at WMG at the University of Warwick’s Energy Innovation Centre, adds: “It was a privilege and an honour to take part in the Gatsby project. Each technician has their own skills and abilities, which allow for fundamentals of their profession to thrive. It’s great to see the technician career path be advertised, and I recommend it as a fulfilling career with lots of opportunities.”
Paul Johnson, Technical Services Manager at WMG explains: “It’s great to see our technical staff involved in this crucial initiative. I say crucial because the skill shortage, that we now see across the educational and research landscape, has to be addressed now. To do that we need to engage the next generation of technicians, and those young people that we reach out to need to be inspired. Hearing from early career technical professionals, through outreach programmes such as this, can only help to galvanise the desire that young technicians have and drive them to pursue a career in science and technology.”
Research by Gatsby shows that while parents are becoming more supportive of technical education routes and qualifications, such as T-Levels, many (40%) still don’t understand what a technician is. Furthermore, two thirds (66%) say their child has expressed an interest in a future career that they know very little about.
Together with Gatsby, WMG wants to help parents and young people learn more about technician careers options and routes available (many of which young people can reach via T-levels, apprenticeships and other more practical, work-based routes).
Find out more about WMG’s Technician Commitment here: Technician Commitment (warwick.ac.uk)
For more information on Gatsby’s Technicians: We Make the Difference campaign, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
· Parents survey – A survey carried out by Censuswide of 2,000 parents of 11–18-year-olds who attend non-fee-paying schools. The survey was carried out in March 2022.
About Technicians: We Make the Difference
Technicians: We Make the Difference is a campaign by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation that aims to educate parents and young people alike on technician careers.
It's their balance of scientific, engineering, or technological knowledge with skills like attention to detail and critical thinking that makes technicians special. That can be almost anything - from making a life-saving vaccine to working behind the scenes at a music festival.
Find about more about how technicians make a difference every day via www.technicians.org.uk.
The WMG Outreach and SME teams, at the University of Warwick, were pleased to lend their support to the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, for a unique project inspired by Coventry artist and campaigner, Daniel Lismore.
The gallery hosted a series of masterclasses challenging local community groups to create their own mannequins using the techniques and skills adopted by Daniel in his recent exhibition ‘Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Taken.’
Daniel Lismore is known for his elaborate and extravagant creations that combine haute couture with charity-shop finds, including yards of vintage fabrics, found objects, ribbons, feathers, chain mail, shells, ethnic jewellery and retro accessories in an expression of creative energy, whilst giving voice to social calls for action and politically driven campaigns.
The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum approached Professor Margaret Low, Director of Outreach and Widening Participation at WMG, in need of some specialist equipment to help with the masterclasses. The WMG SME Team owned this equipment, and kindly agreed to loan it.
Amanda Haran, Community Engagement Officer at Culture Coventry explained: “Daniel was introduced to vacuum forming by English National Opera and as our aim was to make the creative journey as artistically authentic as that taken by Daniel, we were thrilled when the team at WMG offered the use of their machine.”
Bethany Haynes, Engineering Technician in the WMG SME Team, attended each of the masterclasses and guided the community groups through the vacuum forming process, enabling them to create some really imaginative pieces, combining engineering skills with process art.
Amanda added: “Beth's instruction and support have been truly amazing, from making pomegranate moulds, to sourcing the specialist preferred foam. She met the energy of the groups being encouraging and adventurous, helping them to create the forms that best illustrate their theme.”
The Daniel Lismore inspired mannequins will be on display at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum throughout August. Find out more here: Home - The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum
Staff from WMG, at the University of Warwick, were proud to support the EY Foundation’s Beyond Your Limits employability programme, helping care-experienced young people with their future careers.
The new partnership between Warwick, led by the University’s Social Inclusion Group, and the EY Foundation has been made possible with funding through a UKRI Higher Education Innovation Fund.
Beyond Your Limits aims to develop key skills that are essential for helping young people reach their true potential as they take their first steps into a career, apprenticeship, or further education. A total of eight young people enrolled on the 2021/22 programme with the University of Warwick.
Part of the programme required the young people to take part in a workplace experience, so the Social Inclusion Group worked to align the young people with departments that would support their career aspirations and interests.
The Beyond Your Limits programme has been specifically designed for care-experienced young people in education, aged 16-19. On the programme they receive paid employability training, work experience placements, a personal development grant, a business mentor and progression coach.
Three of the eight students were allocated to a WMG Research Fellow, Dr Craig Carnegie, who acted as a business host, providing five and a half days of structured work experience, facility tours and opportunities to network within WMG.
Craig explained: “I created tailored individual programmes for the students; taking into account their personal interests of aerospace, manufacturing and photography. They completed the various tasks on campus during the Easter and May school holidays. This project gave them the opportunity to experience real world research and engineering, at a time when they are choosing their paths to take for their future careers.
“It was a very rewarding experience, and although the placements have now finished, I’m still available for contact if they need support with job applications, helping them to improve their employability and professional networks. They were a remarkable group of young people, and I am looking forward to seeing what they go on to achieve in the future.”
Professor Margaret Low, WMG’s Director of Outreach and Widening Participation, explained: “Craig’s contribution to this project will have made a marked impact on these young people. It is so important that universities provide role models and support to the people who will make up the workforce of the future to ensure that science and engineering roles are accessible to people from all backgrounds. Thanks to Craig’s efforts with the EY Foundation WMG has been able to further support widening participation in higher education.
“We hope to be able to work with the EY Foundation and Warwick’s Social Inclusion Group again in the future."
Read more WMG Outreach news here: Public engagement and Outreach (warwick.ac.uk)
British Science Week is a ten-day celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths; and is a chance to look into the future and celebrate the impact scientific ideas can make on society. In support, the Team took part in the University of Warwick’s ‘Slice of Science;’ attended the Royal Institution’s Powering our Sustainable Future event, where Rohin Titmarsh and Phil Jemmett shared their expertise on battery tech and robotics; and conducted experiments at a library science fair in Staffordshire.
Dr Phil Jemmett, Outreach Project Officer at WMG, said: “Presenters at the events noticed students building in confidence as they engaged with our staff, and we have received some really positive feedback from both organisers and parents.”
The team at Perton Library said the ‘experiments were great – excellent explanations for the children.’
A parent at the Ri event said it was an ‘excellent event. Having the booths from universities/companies after the event was a great bonus for my son. He had the chance to discuss not only about batteries but about different courses to study as he is still undecided as to which course to choose.’
Another parent added: ‘It gave my 17-year-old a frame of reference to where a career in STEM could lead.’
Phil explained: “For the UK to remain at the forefront of innovation, a strong and diverse workforce will be needed. We believe that events such as these can give youngsters the information and the inspiration, they need to pursue a STEM career.”
The Outreach team would like to say a huge thank you to Bethany Haynes; Rebecca Swan-McAdam; Mucahit Ozden; Veronika Majherova; Yiduo Wang; Zeina Rihawi; Jianhua Yang; Rohin Titmarsh; Tom Goodman; Rachael Kirwan; Eugene Prout; Nilavan Thipaharan; Bianca Agapito; and Claire Davis, for their help and support at the events.
Find out more about WMG’s Outreach programme, including the Lord Bhattacharyya Engineering Education Programme and the Resonate Festival, taking place in April, here: Public engagement and Outreach (warwick.ac.uk)
The WMG Outreach team has been making special Christmas deliveries to children across the West Midlands and Warwickshire.
Each parcel contained printed templates of Christmas-themed decorations on a flat sheet of card, along with instructions and a link to a video tutorial.
Phil Jemmett, WMG Outreach Project Officer, explained: “The activity teaches young people how 3D objects can be made from flat materials. This is often how real-world items are made and stocked in shops because it takes up so much less space. We’re all used to the idea of ‘flat-pack’ now – it's time to show young people why it’s so common.
“To cement the learning for our young audience, there is a final challenge! This is a creative activity where students design and make their own 3D item from paper or materials. The children then bring all their creations together around a central stand to make a festive display.”
Sophie Meeson, Brown Owl at Berkswell Brownies Brown Owl said: “Berkswell Brownies were thrilled to use the Christmas-in-a- box resource. The children enjoyed seeing their hard work become a 3D final product, and it was a great way of combining reading comprehension skills with fine motor skills and problem solving to ensure they had made the necessary cuts and folds for their final piece to fit together. Being able to tie it into our Christmas craft evening was a bonus for the leaders too, fitting the theme perfectly. Our thanks go to the outreach team at WMG.”
Professor Margaret Low, WMG’s Director of Outreach and Widening Participation added: “These boxes are only possible thanks to the support of our staff designing the items in the boxes, packing and delivering boxes to their local schools, as well as the support of WMG and the High Value Manufacturing Catapult. The contributions of our entire team, during a busy festive period, show our commitment as a department to inspiring the next generation of engineers.”
All of the resources are also available online for free here: www.warwick.ac.uk/wmgoutreach/resources/flatpack