STEM sounds like it is a part of plant but it actually means Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. It’s a UK network supported by government and industry, with the aim of getting great quality education in these subjects for all children. It is a well-established network, that we decided to support earlier this year.
It's so important as it has a big impact on our everyday lives. Science is literally all around us and Technology is continuously changing every aspect of our lives such as internet shopping and mobile phones. Engineering covers all sorts of things such as building the factory lines to create beautiful tasting drinks. Maths features in practically every job in some shape or form!
One of the major problems that industries are facing, is a lack of qualified students wanting to take up careers in these extremely important fields, especially among women. Only 35% of students in STEM related higher education are women.
Unfortunately, when students start to struggle in STEM lessons, they become less interested in the subject. Therefore, we wanted to support schools and come up with a plan to ignite students’ interest at an early age.
As you may have guessed, I have a passion for science. I love my job, which involves liquid development from concept to launch. I wanted to share my passion and bring it to life with students so they would consider a career in one of these fields.
So, I spearheaded an outreach project to set up a network of over 20 STEM ambassadors so we could positively impact our local communities. As a team we had signed up for initial training - organised by our local STEM hub - and started planning a series of science-based workshops in a variety of schools. But when the lockdown started and the schools closed, we were forced to change our plans.
Well, I was sitting at home in front of my computer, when I had a lightbulb moment. I was inspired by the Robinsons Craft O’Clock videos and thought we could try a similar approach. So, with the support of the STEM ambassadors, we created a series of videos called STEM at Home. Each video showcases different experiments that children can easily do at home with their parents using household items. In each video we also explain the science behind the experiment.
The videos were posted every Wednesday from 11:00. The first video, explained how to power a clock using potatoes and others include how to make butter using cream and write secret messages using bicarbonate of soda and lemon juice.
We have also developed further STEM at Home projects in collaboration with the Britvic Wellbeing Warriors that show live experiments for colleagues and children to participate along with at home via Teams.
For British Science Week, we worked alongside other food companies to create one pagers for social media, around STEM employees and their backgrounds, to encourage the next generation into STEM careers.
The initiative has been a fantastic success so far and, through teacher engagement, has reached over 700 students through virtual events and hopefully inspired a new wave of students to study STEM.
This is only just the beginning, and we are already working on more exciting projects, so watch this space!
Holly Cuthill - Product Development Manager