Scientists and engineers from the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) have been recognised for their work to inspire students in local schools. Dstl was nominated for an award as the most dedicated employer in the Wiltshire, Swindon and Dorset region, by STEMNET – the Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) Network.
Dstl’s STEM Ambassadors regularly support local schools. They provide hands-on, interactive workshops and careers advice to help young people make informed decisions about careers in the STEM subjects. In 2014, Dstl supported more than 70 events in schools local to its four sites spread across Wiltshire, Hampshire and Kent. More than 5,000 students benefited from access to scientists and engineers, providing an insight into STEM professions.
Some of the STEM Ambassadors gathered at Dstl’s Porton Down site to receive an award nomination certificate from STEMNET Chief Executive Officer Kirsten Bodley. They demonstrated some of the inventive activities that they have devised for school students, using Dstl’s work as inspiration to demonstrate the defence applications of the STEM subjects. From armour protection to thermal camouflage and logistics operations, many of Dstl’s projects offer excellent and exciting opportunities for students to consider how their school subjects are used in the real world.
STEMNET is a charity that works across UK schools and which has 28,000 volunteers from STEM industries enthusing young people about STEM. Kirsten Bodley said:
Inspiring young people to develop STEM skills broadens their opportunities, offers tangible skills for addressing global challenges and supporting the UK’s future competitiveness. We know that 90% of pupils are more interested in continuing to study STEM subjects after engaging with a STEM Ambassador. It’s been fantastic to meet Dstl’s STEM Ambassadors, who do such great work in schools. The activities that they have devised are brilliant. I can see how they would be fun and engaging for students, and help them to understand how they could do this sort of work as a future career.
STEMNET recognises STEM sector employers that have supported their employees to become STEM Ambassadors. Dstl’s STEM Outreach Manager Jaime Williamson explains:
At Dstl, we recognise the importance of investing in the next generation of STEM experts. Our STEM Ambassadors do excellent work, inspiring young people in our local communities to pursue further study and careers in STEM. This award is fantastic because it recognises the contribution that our STEM Ambassadors make, alongside their important work in defence.