Students look to future at Homewood STEM careers fair
Last Friday (13 July 2018) the minds of 2,200 pupils from across the Tenterden Schools Trust were firmly focused on a future career in STEM ( (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) when over 30 exhibitors from a range industries took over Homewood School’s sports hall for the day.
Organised by Homewood’s Careers Team, the Fair provided students with unique opportunity to assess STEM career paths and meet future employers. The diverse range of businesses and agencies represented ensured that every student had something to engage with, from Year 5 students who visited from Tenterden Junior School right through to Year 12 students who are currently studying A-Levels and other level 3 courses.
Interactive sessions ranged from Kent Fire and Rescue Service running time trials for youngsters to change into a full firefighter kit and have a go using heat seeking equipment, to a STEM Ambassador, who used to work for the Ministry of Defence, helping students to use 3D printers and explaining how these can be applied in business and development.
Apprenticeship providers and Universities stood side by side promoting and explaining the different routes into the various industries. One of the focuses for the day was for Industry to link careers to the curriculum by discussing the skills that jobs in their industry require to the students.
Homewood students also helped to run the event: members of the school’s STEM club became enthusiastic ‘Careers Ambassadors’ and a team of Media students documented the day by taking photos interviewing exhibitors and filming the event. At lunch, the delegates and invited guests enjoyed a wonderful spread put on by Homewood’s catering students in the Balcony Restaurant.
As key part of the day, students were invited to enter a STEM research competition with the exhibiting businesses as the judges. All entries were of high quality so the judges had a tough time deciding the winners. In the end a year 9 team the SS Homewood (Emma, Tiffany and Jasmine) was crowned STEM champions 2018 for their research on colour changing flowers. In addition, Emily’s boat made from recycled metal and wood and Conor’s 3D model cell took the Judges Champion award, made by East Kent and Sussex Railway. They will spend a day with the trains as a reward. Bethany, Abigail, Kiri and Mollie were awarded an Eastwell Manor Goody bag for their project ‘Lets Infect You’.
The competition also acted as a local heat for the KM Bright Sparks awards 2019. Homewood student James’ research project into why games are addictive and his resulting educational game was selected to go through to the grand final next year, along with two others, including a Maths game that puts a fun element to revision. All three projects will be developed further over the coming year and be entered into next year’s KM Bright Sparks Finals.
“The STEM Careers Fair was a great success and we have also had tremendously positive feedback since,” said Caroline Courtland-Smith who masterminded the full day event. “Industries are facing a serious skills gap, especially in STEM-related roles, with engineering and science positions some of the hardest to recruit for. As we move towards becoming ever more automated, digital and high-tech, demand for these roles will increase even further. Bridging this skills gap relies on schools actively connecting businesses to engage with the next generation of talent by increasing face-to-face interactions – not least because students really value meeting professionals. Homewood School is committed to building on these new relationships and creating a pool of ‘Business Education Partners’”
The businesses represented at the Fair were:-
Champneys Eastwell Manor, The Royal Air-force, Gibbons Mannington & Phipps, East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust, Kirksaunders Associates, Concept Training / Impact, KCC – Kent Training and Apprenticeships, Canterbury Christ Church University, Imagine This (UK) Ltd, Kent and East Sussex Railway, Medway School of Pharmacy, University of Kent, University of Greenwich. Faculty of Education and Health, Brakes, TRAC, AJE Water, Kent Fire and Rescue Service, Peter Brett Associates, NHS, Baxall Construction Ltd, Amey, CITB, Kent County Council, Green Gate, HSBC UK Plc, Peter Brett Associates, Department for Work and Pensions, Hadlow College.