During this year’s British Science Week from 11-20 March, Westminster City Council is delivering its biggest STEAM week, engaging every secondary school in the city, through an itinerary of 40 events with over 30 partner organisations reaching 1,200 young people living or in education in Westminster.
Supporting young people into a career in STEAM – Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics – is more important than ever this year.
The British Science Association estimates that the STEM sector accounts for 18% of the UK workforce and is critical to the country’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet they report that whilst STEM careers are experiencing some of the highest levels of growth of any industry, ‘skills gaps remain, and diversity is sorely lacking’.
This British Science week, working in partnership with the business, arts and higher education sectors, Westminster City Council is supporting young people to raise their aspirations, develop an appetite for success, broaden their horizons and explore the world of STEAM.
Amongst the forty events taking place across the city, young people are able to:
- Explore careers in space with the Royal Astronomical society
- Experiment with virtual reality with the Goethe-Institut
- Learn how 3D printing can save lives with King’s College
- Test a career in science with the Science Museum
Inclusivity and diversity is also very much at the forefront of the week with events including an interviews skills workshop delivered by Ted Baker specifically for care leavers and a talk for women called “Bridge–ing your way to Success” by council engineer, Louisa Augustine-Fraser.
One Westminster teacher said:
“STEAM Week allows children to get support in finding a variety of new ways of learning and activities they have never had the chance to take part in.
“This week, the children have responded extremely well and have loved it! The council staff were fantastic and we would love to take part in future events”.
Councillor Matthew Green, Cabinet Member for Business, Planning and Licensing attended a “Dragons’ Den” Style event at Westminster Academy where young people were asked to pitch their ideas of how they could improve their communities. He said:
“Knowledge of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics is really important in today’s knowledge economy.
“Westminster’s largest employment sectors are the scientific, professional and technical services service industries and we want to make sure that our young people are ready for the world of work, and that we are preparing them for a world of work that is most relevant in Westminster.
Today’s event, in partnership with one of our Business Improvement Districts, has been a great opportunity – it has given young people a real foreshadowing of how the business world works and a taste of how to pitch their ideas which have been intelligent and thought-provoking”.
Planning for Westminster STEAM Week commenced in November 2021 with Westminster’s Careers, Enterprise and Skills team contacting all local schools in the borough to inform them of the week and raise awareness of its objective to encourage more young people to explore a career in STEAM.
The team reached out to relevant organisations in the business, arts and higher education sectors in Westminster including ones whom the council has Social Value Agreements with to brief them on the week and arrange meetings for them to get involved.
They worked closely with organisations to transfer their day-to-day activities into fun and engaging workshops for young people which has resulted in Westminster’s biggest ever STEAM week engaging all secondary schools in the borough.