From education to employment

2022 Made in Chesterfield festival inspires girls to consider careers in engineering and manufacturing

2022 Made in Chesterfield festival inspires girls to consider careers in engineering and manufacturing

Girls have been inspired to consider a career in engineering and manufacturing thanks to this year’s Made in Chesterfield festival, co-ordinated by Destination Chesterfield and Direct Education Business Partnership (DEBP).

Maddy, a Year 9 pupil from Whittington Green School who visited performance vehicle specialist Scooby Clinic in Wingerworth, Derbyshire, said:

“I would definitely consider a future career in STEM. There’s a stigma about STEM being just for boys but actually more women should give it a go; they can do it. It’s not just for boys.”

Maddy was one of more than 150 male and female students from secondary schools throughout Chesterfield that took part in workplace visits to companies operating in the science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) sector during the four-week festival.

The visits, which were organised by Direct Education Business Partnership, were designed to introduce secondary school students to the varied STEM careers available in the local economy.

Sonya Martin, Out of School Tuition Tutor at Whittington Green School, praised the campaign, saying:

“We’ve had quite a few female students say they didn’t realise engineering was open to them and that, actually, the work would be a lot of fun. Having the chance to bring them around different workplaces, especially Scooby Clinic, has been really good for them because we very rarely get to know what goes on in our local environment.”

Scooby Clinic was one of a number of businesses that welcomed students into the workplace during the festival. MSE Hiller, Weightron Bilanciai, United Cast Bar, Superior Wellness, Atlantic Pumps, Robinson PLC and Aztec Oils also opened their doors to students.

Aztec Oils, which is based in Bolsover and is one of the UK’s leading specialists in high-performance lubricant manufacture and distribution, welcomed students from Springwell Community College.

During the visit Year 9 pupil Laracommented; “Being here today has made me reconsider my GCSE options. It’s shown me that STEM is more than science and there are lots of jobs and so many opportunities out there.”

Julie Richards, Principal of The Chesterfield College Group, explained:

“It is so positive to see the impact of raising aspirations in STEM subjects with girls across the region thanks to initiatives like Made in Chesterfield. This is the latest in a long line of positive actions to breakdown any perceived barriers for young women who enter a career in STEM. Year on year we are delighted to see more and more young, driven women studying programmes and apprenticeships at Chesterfield College in STEM industries.

These students consistently inform us that when talking to school age girls about getting into a STEM related career they should ‘just go for it!’ Whilst they admitted they felt daunted when first entering the industry, that apprehension quickly subsided when they realised how supported and valued they were by their classmates or work colleagues.”

According to a *report by The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Diversity and Inclusion in STEM, only 27% of the UK’s STEM workforce is female compared to 52% of the wider workforce.

Made in Chesterfield, which is sponsored by the Chesterfield College Group, is now in its eighth year. The annual festival is playing a key role in addressing the technical skills shortage amongst local businesses.

Research by the UK Commission for Employment & Skills found that 43 per cent of national STEM vacancies are hard to fill due to a shortage of skilled and experienced applicants.

Ivan Fomin Destination Chesterfield board member responsible for manufacturing and engineering in the Borough said:

“I am delighted at the impact the Made in Chesterfield festival has made with students, schools and businesses this year. Seeing so many mixed groups of students undertaking visits to STEM workplaces in Chesterfield is incredibly encouraging. Ensuring that our workplaces are diverse is critical to tackling skills shortages in the sector both locally and nationally.”

Clare Talati, Chief Executive of DEBP added:

“DEBP are delighted to work in partnership on the initiative; at a time with increased pressures for schools and employers, the feedback demonstrates just how important workplace visits are in enabling young people to understand more about the amazing opportunities available locally.”

Since its 2014 launch, Made in Chesterfield has introduced over 3,500 young people to the jobs and careers available operating in the STEM sector within local businesses.

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