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The Power of Mentorship: How Businesses Can Help the Next Generation Succeed in Science and Technology

4 mins read

Key Takeaways:

  • Toby Hill, a former Sixth Form student and Gold CREST Award recipient is working to help students bridge the skills gap and develop their pathway to the workforce in the STEM, legal, and business sectors.
  • Businesses can streamline the transition from school to the workforce for young people by providing access to hands-on science enrichment activities and engaging STEM resources.
  • Through partnerships with organizations like the British Science Association, businesses can support young people from all backgrounds to get into science through initiatives such as CREST Awards and student mentorship programs.

Bridging the Skills Gap: How One Former Student is Helping the Next Generation Succeed

Toby Hill knows firsthand how important it is to have access to hands-on science enrichment activities and engaging STEM resources. As a Sixth Form student, he spent a summer working in a local laboratory, developing his skills as an engineer and earning a Gold CREST Award – a nationally recognized award for student-led project work in the STEM subjects – as part of his Nuffield Research Placement.

Years later, Hill is dedicated to inspiring the next generation of young people to build their own STEM skills, confidence, and aspirations. As a trainee patent lawyer in engineering and ICT, he understands the value of bridging the skills gap and helping students develop their pathway to the workforce.

In this article, we’ll explore how businesses can play their part in tackling critical skills gaps in industry by providing access to science enrichment activities and engaging STEM resources. We’ll also examine how partnerships with organizations like the British Science Association can support young people from all backgrounds to get into science through initiatives such as CREST Awards and student mentorship programs.

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The Importance of STEM Skills in the Workforce

The demand for workers with STEM skills is on the rise, with the UK government estimating that there will be 1.2 million new technical and digitally skilled jobs by 2022. However, there is a significant skills gap in the STEM sector, with many young people lacking the necessary skills and experience to succeed in these careers.

Streamlining the Transition from School to the Workforce

One way to bridge the skills gap is by providing access to hands-on science enrichment activities and engaging STEM resources. These activities can help young people develop their skills and confidence in STEM subjects, as well as provide them with valuable experience and insights into potential careers.

Supporting Young People from All Backgrounds

One of the biggest challenges in bridging the skills gap is ensuring that young people from all backgrounds have access to the same opportunities. This is where partnerships with organizations like the British Science Association can play a significant role.

As a national CREST Awards partner, Hill’s employer Mewburn Ellis has been working with the British Science Association to support young people in science for many years. The CREST Awards program provides students with the opportunity to undertake their own scientific investigations and earn nationally recognized awards for their work.

In addition to the CREST Awards, the British Science Association also runs other initiatives aimed at supporting young people in science. These include British Science Week, an annual ten-day celebration of STEM. They provide free resources and support for schools to run events which challenges young people to develop innovative solutions to real-world problems and encourage young people to develop their communication skills by presenting scientific ideas in creative ways

The Importance of Mentorship Programs

Another way that businesses can support young people in science is through mentorship programs. These programs provide young people with the opportunity to work closely with experienced professionals in the STEM sector, gaining valuable insights and guidance as they develop their skills and experience.

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As part of his work at Mewburn Ellis, Hill has been involved in the firm’s mentorship program for several years. The program pairs trainees with experienced patent attorneys, providing them with valuable insights into the patent application process and the wider STEM sector.

Conclusion

The skills gap in the STEM sector is a significant challenge for businesses in the UK, but it’s also an opportunity to support the next generation of young people in science. Through partnerships with organizations like the British Science Association and initiatives like the CREST Awards, mentorship programs, and science clubs, businesses can help to bridge the skills gap and provide young people with the skills and experience they need to succeed in STEM careers.

“The main skill developed through completing a CREST award is independent working, because you have to be quite motivated and independent to complete the award.”

“The report writing skills were also good to develop. Throughout my time at university and now at my job I am required to do a lot of writing, where I take technical information and put it into a format that people with different levels of understanding can grasp.”

“The CREST award was a great thing to put on my UCAS application and to use in my university interviews. Many universities want to see how your mind works and how you explore technical ideas, so its good to have something you are familiar with that you can discuss at length.”

“It demonstrates to universities that you are committed to your subject because it backs up your claims at being interested in a subject given you have that experience to draw on.”

“Patent attorneys deal with technical inventions, but have to fuse that information with the law, so having an understanding of the meaning of terms is really important as well as good communication skills to get your meaning across.”

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“You’ve got the scientific side of it in terms of understanding the inventions, but you’ve also got to consider it within the law and how that plays into it.”

“A lot of people don’t know that to become a patent attorney you don’t need a law degree, you learn the law on the job, you actually just need a STEM degree.”

“I was super impressed by the ideas the students were coming up with and their level of thinking. It was great to work with them and talk about sustainability, given it is such an important topic. Also, as they are at a very early stage in considering their further education and career options it was really nice to talk to them and hopefully inspire a career in STEM”

“There are lots of opportunities out there, but not everyone has the same exposure to opportunities, which is why it is crucial to raise young people’s awareness.”

“It’s really important to be aware of the options that are out there, such as the Nuffield Research Placement, and go out and give things a try.” sadi Toby Hill.


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