From education to employment

Cadent Foundation Grant Helps Encourage Young People into STEM Careers

@In2ScienceUK, a social mobility charity which helps young people from low-income and disadvantaged backgrounds gain practical insight into careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (#STEM); has been awarded a £96,745 grant from the Cadent Foundation to expand its programme across North London, East of England and the North West.  

Young people from disadvantaged backgrounds face significant barriers to their progression in STEM degrees and careers. In fact, only 10% of life science professionals, 15% of academics and 6% of doctors come from low socio-economic groups. In2scienceUK leverages the passion of STEM experts and engineering professionals to support young people to achieve their potential through life-changing work-placements, skills days and workshops. The In2scienceUK Programme has a significantly positive impact with independent evaluation proving that 58% of young people taking part progress to top tier universities. Nationally, just 11% of disadvantaged students progress to top universities. In 2020, In2scienceUK transformed its programme to be delivered online through a high-quality virtual STEM learning portal, this year the charity is determined to support more young people to reach their potential.

The new funding will support 160 young people who will become the first Cadent Foundation Scholars to participate in an innovative three step programme that includes:

  • Mentorship and placements with top STEM professionals at world leading universities.
  • An online research module with interactive activities and lectures to give an insight into engineering research.
  • Workshops on careers and employability skills such as CV writing and interview techniques.

Rebecca McKelvey, Founder and CEO of In2scienceUK said: “Poverty and social background are huge barriers to progressing to careers within STEM. If students don’t receive the right guidance and support through their schools and personal networks, they may never consider pursuing a career within this sector. By giving students from disadvantaged backgrounds high-quality opportunities and support at the start of their career journey, In2scienceUK empowers them to achieve their potential and become the next generation of researchers, innovators and pioneers.

“Our mission, to increase diversity and equal opportunity in STEM, has never been so relevant as it is today. COVID-19 has only highlighted and added to the disparity of opportunity between young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and those who are more affluent. Now, more than ever, we must encourage all young people to achieve their potential in STEM, regardless of their background.

“In 2020 we received 3000 applications from young people across the UK with great potential but in desperate need of support to help secure a brighter future. The need is huge. We are extremely grateful to the Cadent Foundation for this generous grant which demonstrates its commitment to our mission and work. It will allow us to expand our programme even further and help so many more young people to achieve their full potential.”

In2scienceUK student Ariba, took part in the programme in 2020. She explains how it’s had a big impact on her career decisions. “The In2scienceUK programme helped me explore the different aspects of the sciences and made me recognise how valuable a degree in STEM is. It also made me realise the significance of STEM-related careers in our everyday life. The highlight of the programme for me was meeting my mentor. I was able to share my passion and interest in chemistry with someone who was an expert in this field. I was also able to ask for advice whether it be about university in general or career related.

“Taking part in the In2scienceUK programme confirmed my desire to work in a lab, hence pursue a career in research in the future as it will allow me to continue my passion for the sciences as well as develop transferable skills. It made me realise how broad chemistry is and the impact it has on other fields such as medicine which is simply fascinating!”

Julia Dwyer, Director of the Cadent Foundation, said: “We are delighted to be able to support In2ScienceUK to expand its fantastic programmes across our networks. Through the Cadent Foundation Scholars Programme young people will have the opportunity to build lasting connections and gain valuable insight that will help them to become the next generation of STEM professionals – with access to cutting edge research, inspiring mentors, as well as careers and university access support and advice.

“These programmes are not only life changing for the young people directly involved, they also benefit multiple organisations within each community. Schools gain free careers workshops and advice, and for industries, they boost diversity and inclusion in the STEM sector as well as providing a pipeline of skilled workers for the future, supporting the growth of the UK economy.”

The Cadent Foundation is funded by local gas network Cadent, and has been established to support projects large and small that help people living in vulnerable situations and energy poor communities; protect and preserve the natural environment and support in creating a sustainable energy future for all. 

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