Fifty 11 to 14-year- olds took part in a stimulating “Future of Energy” challenge on 15 November 2016. It was run by IBM and Shell to get them thinking about the role technology can play to create clean and efficient energy solutions. The students then pitched their ideas to a Dragon’s Den-style panel.
I was given the opportunity to shadow a STEM ambassador, Jasprit Chadal Shell Fuel Scientist, I was able to discuss her experiences including education and job roles and also gain a better understanding of the STEM Ambassador role. As part of the day, the students also gained a perspective on ‘a day in the life’ of a Shell and IBM apprentice. They heard from both companies about new energies, the importance of STEM skills in addressing the energy challenge, and the technology-led innovations that will be developed to meet that challenge.
The ‘Future of Energy’ challenge is a great initiative where like-minded companies collaborate. It is delivered as part of the commitment to support STEM education. The creativity of the bright ideas pitched by the students and their enthusiasm and team work was inspirational. The teams generated really thought-provoking concepts for developing cleaner and more efficient energy solutions.
These challenge days can really help make the connection for teenagers with how STEM Study can change the world. All involved demonstrated so much energy, enthusiasm and innovation. Businesses are working together with schools in the community to inspire the next generation. They are changing the perception that these subjects are only for the ‘clever’ kids. They are for all and with more apprenticeship schemes available for school leavers as well as the traditional graduate programmes, there really are great opportunities for students in the UK to pursue STEM based careers and make a real difference.