School students on the Fylde coast are getting a taste of careers in science, as part of a programme to help more students progress to higher education.
Teenagers from five high schools across Blackpool and Fleetwood have been learning more about life working in science, engineering and maths as part of a Science Capital programme. The sessions, funded by careers organisation Future U, are designed to increase the aspirations of local students in schools where fewer pupils progress on to scientific degrees.
Building on previous success, the Science Capital programme is has expanded to support more schools in 2022, as well as focusing on careers in growing sectors around renewable energy and climate science.
The schools the programme works with, Fleetwood High School, South Shore Academy, Armfield Academy, Montgomery Academy and Unity Academy, are all part of the Fylde Coast Ogden Trust and are Lancaster University link schools.
As such, some of the pupils were also able to visit Lancaster University and Blackpool Sixth Form and attend employer talks, while the whole school benefitted from careers assemblies, open lectures and an awards event with a special guest talk from TV scientist Mary Jopson.
In addition to supporting the pupils, the programme also helps teachers across the science department offer more support around potential careers.
The project was led by Mhairi Mitchinson, Assistant Head of the Department of Science at the Blackpool Sixth Form College, in partnership with Lancaster University Physics Department and Future U.
Mhairi, a former engineer, established the Fylde Coast Ogden Trust Partnership in 2012, with Blackpool Sixth Form as the hub school. The Ogden Trust is a charitable trust which was created to promote the teaching and learning of physics.
“I feel privileged to be able to work with such inspirational teachers and students. It is so lovely to see the students’ science capital grow. They were initially asking general questions about STEM but by the end of the project they were referring to how they could continue their STEM pathway.”
Dr. Emma Deeks, Senior Outreach Officer at Future U, added: “Science Capital is a fantastic project that provides a hugely inspiring and informative range of Science related events and activities. The awards event in particular provided a great opportunity to recognise the hard work of the learners involved in the programme, as well as giving them the chance to hear from TV Scientist Marty Jopson; someone who epitomises the excitement and joy science can bring when we consider the possibilities it holds.”
Future U is part of the national Uni Connect Programme, funded by the Office for Students, and continues to support school pupils across Lancashire to encourage more young people to think about higher education and future careers.