Inspiring young innovators of tomorrow
4 October 2012
The diversified technology company 3M has staged a special exhibition of innovation to encourage more young people to study the STEM subjects of science, technology, engineering and maths.
Its showcase of its latest technologies was aimed at inspiring and motivating students to become the British innovators of tomorrow.
By displaying technologies that are providing solutions to needs across the spectrum from industry and government to healthcare and home, the company wanted to spark young interest in studying the STEM subjects through school and university.
3M’s showcase event was held at its Bracknell head office and came shortly after a House of Lords Science and Technology Committee report this summer that called for immediate action to boost student numbers in STEM subjects.
The report highlighted that between 2003 and 2010 the number of UK engineering graduates fell by three per cent and the number of computer science graduates dropped by 27 per cent.
It also coincided with a new report from the Institute of Physics (IOP) showing that nearly half (49 per cent) of all co-ed maintained schools do not send even one girl on to do physics A-level. The IOP report – It’s Different for Girls – used records of A-level exams sat in 2011 from the National Pupil Database.
John Klee of 3M explained: “Technology companies like ours need talented people with the right skills and qualifications.
“By getting hands-on experience of these latest innovations - which have all been created by people who’ve made STEM subjects their careers – we wanted to enthuse the next generation to want to follow suit.
”We demonstrated an array of highly visual technologies, which we knew would have a real ‘wow factor’ for the students and we got a tremendous response. We hope it will prove a long term inspiration for them.”
Mike Taylor, a science teacher at Brakenhale School commented: “It’s been a great opportunity to broaden the horizons of sixth formers studying product design and science and give them an idea of the type of jobs they can aspire to.
“The pupils were very impressed at the amount of technology, design and engineering behind everyday products. They toured the live demonstrations and enjoyed the chance to see science and technology applied to the real world in a number of settings.”
Garth Hill College student Nina Ceruti, aged 13, said: “Science is one of my favourite subjects and I’ve enjoyed seeing it in action at 3M.”
3M’s ongoing commitment to supporting the choice of STEM subjects among students also includes its STEM ambassador scheme. This involves employees going into schools local to its UK sites to demonstrate the wide range of careers open to those with STEM qualifications.
The company also provides free online educational teaching resources based around the principles of STEM subjects. These are www.3Mstreetwise.co.uk on road safety for 7-11 year-olds; www.3Mworldlywise.co.uk on sustainable living aimed at 11-16 year-olds and www.3Mcareerwise.co.uk providing careers guidance for 11-14 year-olds.
3M is a trademark of 3M Company.