“A perfect balance between learning and having fun” – discovering careers in STEM

“A perfect balance between learning and having fun” – discovering careers in STEM

Year 9 pupils not only found out about careers in STEM and had lots of fun on a special three-day course, but also gained a new qualification, too.

All five boys who attended the Engineering Development Trust’s Routes into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) course in London, prior to social distancing measures, qualified as EDT Bronze Industrial Cadets.

Assistant Head Sarah Westcott said: “This was a valuable opportunity for these boys to discover the breadth of STEM careers open to high-calibre candidates and to find out about pathways such as apprenticeships. The organisers successfully inspired them and made it an enjoyable experience by devoting time to some exciting and creative aspects of STEM.”

The five boys were: Aadi Goel; Ajand Sasikumar; Laksh Sharma; Paras Mehrotra and Pranav Jayakumar.

Over the three days, they attended sessions which included computer science activities, a presentation skills workshop and groups looking at film-making, coding and forensic science.

The Engineering Development Trust, a national charity with more than 30 years’ experience, offers young people learning experiences in STEM-related careers. Its Industrial Cadets framework, with levels from Challenger up to Platinum, allows participants to demonstrate experience and progress in STEM activities.

After the course, the boys produced short reviews of the three days.

Paras wrote: “Overall I found this course to be a very enjoyable experience, as it was a perfect balance between learning and having fun, which was evident in all three days. For example, on the first day at New City College [in Tower Hamlets], we practised drawing on Photoshop and also learnt how to do HTML coding.

“Moreover, on the second day we played many VR games, but also learnt how to make them, teaching me that there is a creative side to STEM jobs. One key thing which I learnt was the variety of jobs that come under STEM, such as the many career options within engineering, including mechanical and software engineering, inspiring me to be open… the possibilities are endless.”

Pranav likewise found that the course gave him fresh insight into the many options available to him. These included apprenticeships: he confessed to not having previously considered these because his understanding of them had been “blurred”.

“The course helped me comprehend the wide range of jobs just in one sector,” he said, adding that it had been a “fantastic experience” which he would highly recommend to others.

Similarly, Aadi acclaimed the course as “an extremely fun experience”, praising the wide variety of activities in which he was able to participate. “My favourite one was the virtual reality experience and the game-coding using the Unreal game engine, because it was fun and also interesting to see the level of work that goes into designing the games we play regularly. Another interesting activity was learning how forensic science works and the different techniques that police officers use, such as heating water and superglue to show any residual fingerprints.”

Aadi particularly appreciated the information and guidance on finding an appropriate apprenticeship.

“All in all, the Routes into STEM course is one that I would definitely recommend for others as it was an interesting and eye-opening experience,” he concluded.