Leading science, technology and engineering organisations from across Cambridgeshire gathered at The Bradfield Centre alongside representatives from local schools and home educating networks to show their support for Cambridge LaunchPad, an innovative STEM outreach programme. New, existing and potential partners alike came together to celebrate the achievements and successes of the last academic year, and to get excited for this year’s activities.
The presentations opened with Jeanette Walker, Director of Cambridge Science Park who welcomed the attendees to their ‘world-leading, community-based, innovation eco-system’.
Keynote speaker Sheila Kissane-Marshall gave a rousing speech, sharing her incredible journey from grassroots to board level as a woman in civil engineering, and the many obstacles she has faced from her family, friends, school and colleagues. She is keen to inspire girls to pursue their dream careers without fear and encourage their thirst for knowledge.
The engineering sector offers tremendous rewards for those who want to leave their mark on this planet. Let’s encourage our children, both girls and boys, to become our engineers of the future.
Anna Aldred, STEM Outreach Project Manager at Form the Future, and programme lead for Cambridge LaunchPad, shared the fantastic impact that has been made since the social enterprise took over the STEM initiative last year. Over 6,300 young people aged 8-17 were reached, with 96% of the 1,070 students that took part in the activity days enjoying their experience and finding it useful. 100% of the students believed that females are equally capable in STEM as males after taking part in our events, with an amazing 20% of these students also saying they would be more likely to take triple science and/or an additional STEM subject at GCSE after working with Cambridge LaunchPad.
It was also revealed that 6 more school partners are coming on-board this year, bringing the total number of schools and colleges from across Cambridgeshire to 28. The number of industry partners has also increased from 16 to 24 companies, who are keen to address the skills and diversity issues in the STEM sector, whilst providing their employees with a fantastic opportunity to make apositive impact on their local community.
The presentations were brought to a close with the exciting reveal of the new Cambridge LaunchPad website (www.cambridge-launchpad.com) and film, which showcases many of the activity days we held last academic year. It is available to view on Form the Future CIC’s YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwNdXZuxjj8.
We are delighted to be building on the incredible partnerships we made last academic year by welcoming new schools and other leading STEM businesses to the programme. It is wonderful to find that so many organisations share in our mission – to excite, educate and empower young people and show them that STEM is for all. Without our supporters and partners, notably our Founding Partners Arm, Marshall ADG, Schlumberger and TTP Plc, Cambridge LaunchPad would not be able to engage in the way it does to inspire our future STEM leaders and improve diversity in the sector.
- Michaela Eschbach, Co-Founder & Director at Form the Future CIC.