Monday, 19 August 2019

Shaheen Amin - Summer STEM Work Placement Student - Weekly Reports

Work experience is great and it provides students with many benefits whilst gaining skills and helping choose the right future career path for pupils. Having work experience on a Curriculum Vitae will make a person stand out to employers as they will notice they have motivation and a real passion for work. It will also help to boost a students confidence in themselves! 

The STEM placement students are sending us weekly blogs all about their experience in the world of work! 

See how Shaheen is getting on with their STEM placement! 


Week One 

"The first couple of days involved me getting to know my supervisor, Stephen Webb, and setting up my laptop to begin doing some work. On the third day, I met with a woman, Christina, who needed a webscraping program to fill out a CSV for her team - doing this manually would take hours upon hours, and therefore I spent the next two days learning how to webscrape and making the program. I learnt the basics of webscraping within a few hours, and within three days, I finished a prototype and emailed it back to her, and then two days later, I created a final version with a GUI that could be run on any Windows machine with Python installed. My program can complete 100 rows in two minutes, where it would have taken hours by hand. 

I am now working on a program to process language and the overall sentiment within it, as well as data analysis." 

- Shaheen Amin 

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Inspiring Young People Into STEM - Why Is It Important?


 Victoria Allan

About Victoria Allan:

Organisation: CNOOC International
Your Profession: Graduate Mechanical Engineer
About Yourself: I graduated in 2017 with a MEng in Mechanical and Offshore Engineering. So far with CNOOC, I have worked with the Facilities Engineering Team, and as the Hydrocarbon Release Prevention Focal Point. Shortly, I will be working offshore on Golden Eagle as the Offshore Operations Engineer (OOE). 
Your LinkedIn Profile: Victoria Allan


Tell us why you think it is important in today's world, to inspire young people into STEM and where applicable, why you and or your organisation gets involved and what you get out of it. 


"I think it is important to inspire young people into STEM as ultimately, they are the future and will have to solve problems using Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Ensuring young people have the knowledge to understand our business is key to securing the future of the energy industry in which our workforce will play such an important role. Getting young minds involved from as young as possible will be invaluable to solving some of the bigger problems that we will face. 

CNOOC International actively encourages STEM Ambassadors to get involved in local communities through our outreach education and by inviting local schools in to our offices to learn more about our operations. 

It is brilliant to see the excitement and enthusiasm from the young people and to have the chance to share our knowledge with them at a young age. Hopefully, what we're doing now will inspire them to choose a career in STEM and be part of shaping the world they and their children will inhabit in the future."


In relation to the above question, in your experience, what is getting better or worse and what in your view, are the barriers to sustained success and what do you see as the best way forward? 

"Challenges still exist in promoting STEM careers to young people. I think one of the most important things to do is excite young people about the real-world applications for STEM subjects as well as to highlight just how many career options there are. 

There are also many paths into STEM careers, from apprenticeships that include practical and classroom-based learning to university degrees for a more academic route into the field. 

I also think it's important to encourage young girls, early in their educational career, to get stuck into STEM subjects. 

For me, the best way forward is to continue to have conversations with young people about STEM, get out in to our communities and show them their options as to what they could get involved with. I think the most important thing is to remember how diverse young people can be and to remember that when explaining potential STEM careers to them and show how many ways there are to get involved rather than simply the more traditional routes." 

- Victoria Allan

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Inspiring Young People Into STEM - Why Is It Important?

About Simon Ash 

Organisation: Guildford Borough Council 
Your Profession: Economic Development Officer 
About Yourself: 14 years in banking, 12 years of running small businesses and 6 months fundraising led to a stimulating new role in economic development for Guildford Borough Council, which encompasses a huge range of activity from town centre management to skills development and strategic planning. 
Your LinkedIn Profile: Simon Ash
Your Twitter handle: @SimonAsh6


Tell us why you think it is important in today's world, to inspire young people into STEM and where applicable, why you and or your organisation gets involved and what you get out of it. 

"There is no area of life untouched by STEM: if you do life, you do science! The best preparation for success is understanding the role of creative thinking and challenging received opinion. A young person who resists being categorised will not be limited by conventional roles and opportunities. 

In Guildford, we value the culture of creativity that is reflected across the spectrum of STEM-related organisations, from digital arts to medical research. We also enjoy a great reputation in the creative arts, and believe in breaking down barriers between what have conventionally been two distinct worlds. A computer game developer, for example, might be both highly artistic and technically expert. 

Co-operation across and between industries is the key to unlocking opportunity, and being ready to think differently is critical. 

Guildford Borough Council's work in encouraging STEM awareness forms part of a skills agenda, responding to future challenges in a high-skill economy, and maintaining Guildford's success in a highly competitive environment. 

Starting with the Innovate Guildford Science and Arts Festival (running annually since 2016) to engage young people with possibilities for their future. In 2017, Guildford Borough Council also introduced the Innovation Awards to celebrate the borough's best innovations.

We aim to support improved work experience options, and champion employment-based training including apprenticeships. We have recently undertaken a Skills Survey of local businesses with the aim of exploring issues facing employers and informing our conversations with educators including schools, colleges and universities. We are looking at how an Education Business Partnership might complement the work of other groups including the Surrey Employment Skills Board and the Local Enterprise Partnership's Enterprise Adviser network, as well as SATRO of course."

In relation to the above question, in your experience, what is getting better or worse and what in your view, are the barriers to sustained success and what do you see as the best way forward? 

"In no particular order, I see the following as putting STEM skills development under pressure: 

  • Crowded Curriculum 
  • Education Funding 
  • Lack of apparent long-term strategic investment and vision 
  • Strong focus on examination success above practical skills and a balanced education 
However, the following opportunities show promise for the future if captured and exploited: 
  • Apprenticeship expansion (levy-funded) and available at multiple levels including in some non-traditional industries 
  • Education Business Partnerships to help align educational offering and employment needs 
  • More focused work experience options to benefit the particular interest of students 
  • An expansion of mentoring and other meaningful interactions between school students and entrepreneurs/business people 

- Simon Ash, Guildford Borough Council 


Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Katarina Cabral - Summer STEM Work Placement Student - Weekly Reports

Work experience is great and it provides students with many benefits whilst gaining skills and helping choose the right future career path for pupils. Having work experience on a Curriculum Vitae will make a person stand out to employers as they will notice they have motivation and a real passion for work. It will also help to boost a students confidence in themselves! 


The STEM placement students are sending us weekly blogs all about their experience in the world of work! 

See how Katarina is getting on with her STEM placement at the University of Surrey! 


Week One 

"I finished my first week at my placement. I started by being introduced to the coding and simulation programmes I would use for my project and got to grips with it on the first day by completing tasks where I had to run simulations and plot graphs, experimenting with different work functions and gate voltages to find the optima for various transistors. I then began my project with Radu who sent a sketch of the structure I needed to make using the TFT (thin film transistors) as a starting point, altering the structure and mesh. 

We then played with the doping so that it built the structure Radu wanted.  I had some problems running the simulation but Eva showed me that the issue was that I didn't have mesh points for some of my region points. I plotted and looked at things like electron concentration and potential. We played more with the structure, changing gate voltages and increasing doping, then I learnt how to do cut lines and plot the graphs for those cut lines." 

Week Two 

"I began with altering the structure to shorten the source length and creating a file with a shorter gate overlap. I then showed transfers, outputs and took some cutlines. We then wanted to compare this to using the MOSFET so I created one from my code and overlayed this with the outputs and transfers of my previous structure. We explored using p-type doping at the source but this didn't work. Instead we changed the n-type doping and reduced the char value. The cutlines showing conduction band energy looked good so Radu suggested we start simulating with lots of combinations of bulk and n-typing doping. Each simulation takes forever! However, on Friday we came across errors in the code where I hadn't changed some variables so had to start simulating from the beginning. Luckily I get to hog all the licenses and will be back on track in no time."

Week Three 

"I ran my new simulations this week and we noticed that for high doping sometimes there was current leakage at zero gate voltage. The device wasn't turning on other times because too much positive charge means fewer electrons, so no current. We then decided to alter the structure and add some more bulk doping. The new simulations were even better than before and the plots looked just like textbook examples of how it should saturate. We then tried another change in structure with the doping to see the effects. They turned out well too. 

After this we needed to change the simulated material from amorphous silicon to a higher mobility material and tried running with impact ionisation switched on or off. Including impact ionisation would model what would be expected from devices with higher mobility materials because the electrons can travel faster. The same day we also had the faculty BBQ! On the Friday, I made a table of all the simulations I had done so we could clearly see what we have for comparisons. There was then a bit of trouble where some files kept disappearing (windows related) but it was all fine in the end." 


- Katarina Cabral 


Thursday, 1 August 2019

Inspiring Young People Into STEM - Why Is It Important?

About Harry Bainbridge

Organisation: Heathrow
Your Profession: Education and Skills Manager
About Yourself: Harry joined Heathrow in 2018, starting in Economic Development and moving to the Education and Skills team in early 2019. Prior to this, Harry worked in sustainability and corporate social responsibility for a multinational FTSE100 company. 
Your Organisation's Twitter Handle: @YourHeathrow


Tell us why you think it is important in today's world, to inspire young people into STEM and where applicable, why you and or your organisation gets involved and what you get out of it. 


"With huge strides in technological innovation in recent years, STEM is a growing sector, not least at Heathrow where we have embraced driverless vehicles, biometrics trials and other innovative solutions to make every journey better for our passengers. As the sector grows, so too will the job prospects for young people. It is important to engage with schools now, as even from an early age, young people are already forming their own perceptions about STEM careers and whether it's the right career path. 

Every year, Heathrow delivers the Primary and Secondary School Challenges to local schools. Both programmes are heavily focussed on STEM. In the Primary School Challenge, Year 6 students learn how coding is used in cargo operations. In the Secondary School Challenge, Year 8's learn about the airport's driverless electric vehicle technology used to drive the Heathrow POD's, which transport passengers between Terminal 5 and car parking. The programme teaches young people about the range of STEM-related careers at the airport and is supported by Heathrow colleagues. 

Heathrow has committed to doubling the number of apprenticeships to 10,000 and creating tens of thousands of new jobs with expansion. This will give local communities the potential to end local youth unemployment. Many of these opportunities will be in STEM, to support the construction of an airport that is fit for the future. Roles such as engineers, data analysts, and construction workers will be key. 

We are currently designing a new suite of educational outreach initiatives, to increase awareness of the opportunities at Heathrow and to build a pipeline of local skills." 


In relation to the above question, in your experience, what is getting better or worse and what in your view, are the barriers to sustained success and what do you see as the best way forward? 

"Whilst still a challenge, preconceptions of STEM are slowly improving, as is diversity in the sector, but there is still a long way to go. It is not just students - many teachers have limited knowledge of STEM careers and it is vital that we engage with them to improve perceptions and dispel myths, to ensure that young people are getting the best advice. Parents arguably have the biggest impact on young people, but they often have strong biases towards or against certain careers. If we don't seek to challenge and influence these, it will be difficult for the industry to have an impact on young people. 

We are currently developing a World of Work programme to give work experience to people of all ages. Through this programme, we are keen to demonstrate the diverse range of careers at the airport by giving them a taste of different areas of the business from construction to sustainability. In doing so, we will help to equip young people with the skills needed to succeed in a role they are excited by or passionate about. We are partnering with organisations such as SATRO to make this happen, and will include school activities, teacher resources and other experiences to get young people interested in STEM and careers at Heathrow.

By engaging with young people, teachers and parents, we can ensure that those who want to can build an exciting career at Heathrow." 

- Harry Bainbridge

Monday, 29 July 2019

Monika Tranova - Summer STEM Work Placement Student - Weekly Reports


Image result for oil refineryWork experience is great and it provides students with many benefits whilst gaining skills and helping choose the right future career path for pupils. Having work experience on a Curriculum Vitae will make a person stand out to employers as they will notice they have motivation and a real passion for work. It will also help to boost a students confidence in themselves! 

The STEM placement students are sending us weekly blogs all about their experience in the world of work! 


See how Monika is getting on with her STEM placement! 


Week One

"KBC is an engineering consulting company that mainly focuses on the oil refining industry. I was introduced to the main points of the refinery business and how it works. I started working on a simulation software by KBC called Petro-Sim. I talked to an engineer who talked to me about RAM and mechanical engineering and where it is heading. I attended meetings where current and future projects were discussed. I talked to many people from the engineering team to know what they were working on and see what kind of work they are doing." 

- Monika Tranova 

Friday, 26 July 2019

Peter Boardman - Summer STEM Work Placement Student - Weekly Reports



The STEM placement students are sending us weekly blogs all about their experience in the world of work! 



Image result for cardiac research
Work experience is great and it provides students with many benefits whilst gaining skills and helping choose the right future career path for pupils. Having work experience on a Curriculum Vitae will make a person stand out to employers as they will notice they have motivation and a real passion for work. It will also help to boost a students confidence in themselves! 


                                 See how Peter is getting on with his STEM placement! 

Week One 

"I am currently completing a SATRO work experience placement at St George's University London. The placement is based around cardiac research - looking at Brugada Syndrome in particular. 

Arriving through the door at St George's, I was confronted with the "Rat Maze" of corridors, as it is affectionately called in the university. However, within a couple of days, I had found my sense of direction! 

In order to understand the cardiac research I would be involved with, I first had to learn some new terms, including "epicardium" and "adipocytes". Over the week, I have: prepared tissue blocks, scanned microscope slides, seen clinical practice, and helped to complete an immunohistochemistry protocol. 

I look forward to next week - when I will get to see an electron microscope!" 


Week Two 

"Arriving on Monday for my second week of work experience, I was starting to feel more confident in the knowledge of the heart. In order to understand Brugada Syndrome (the heart condition I am helping to investigate), I have had to learn some electrophysiology, cellular biology, biochemistry and anatomy - bringing together Biology, Chemistry and Physics! 

However - putting this new knowledge into practice with heart dissections, immunohistochemistry and microscopy has been the most exciting part of the placement! I have also seen patients undertake echocardiograms, and electrocardiograms (ECGs) in clinical practice.

Today, I am going to see the University's electron microscope - which is the tool used to take all the photographs in my textbook. I look forward to helping Dr Chris Miles (my placement supervisor) write up his research next week." 

Week Three 

"My third week at St George's University has been an opportunity to consolidate the new information I have learned, by creating a presentation to Professor Mary Sheppard - a world leading pathologist. This presentation was about "The Morphologically Normal Heart." 




The most interesting thing I discovered while researching, was that cardiac cells are differentially terminated, meaning they never divide again once formed. This causes cancer of the heart to be exceedingly rare, as without cell division, the chances of a mutation are far reduced. It also implies that the cells in your heart at the end of puberty are the same throughout your whole life. 

Outside of the presentation, I discovered how ECG traces are formed, saw several echo cardiograms, and had another opportunity to witness heart dissections. I have certainly decided to take better care of my heart's health, as a result of the past three weeks!" 

Week Four 

"My final week of work experience was centered around writing up the research and results we had helped our supervisor (Dr Chris Miles) obtain. This was mainly done using Microsoft Excel - which is a far more powerful software tool than I had initially appreciated. 

Nevertheless, we were still able to see many interesting things in the hospital - providing a needed break from sitting in front of computers! We spent two sessions in clinical practice: one in cardiology outpatients, and the other seeing an ajmaline test. Ajmaline is a drug used to stress the heart, allowing certain diagnostic ECG patterns to potentially arise. 

The highlight of my week was having a second opportunity to use the university's electron microscope (see photo below). I was slightly apprehensive about using a £250,000 piece of equipment, however, it turns out to be quite easy to operate. Not only was I able to see different cell organelles, and see how electron microscope slides are stained, but also see how the photos in my biology textbook are taken! 



Overall, the past four weeks have been incredibly useful, helping me make my choices for higher education, and boosting my confidence. I would 100% recommend a SATRO placement for anybody interested in a science related degree!" 

- Peter Boardman 


Wednesday, 24 July 2019

Inspiring Young People Into STEM - Why Is It Important?

About Lynn Willacy

Lynn Willacy


Organisation: Air Products 

Profession: Community & STEM Ambassador 

About Lynn: Lynn joined Air Products in May 2000. Now, as the Community and STEM Ambassador, Lynn leads programmes supporting STEM engagement. Being an advocate of diversity and inclusion, Lynn has been featured in the media discussing the skills shortage and how to encourage students to consider a STEM career. 

Organisation's LinkedIn: Air Products 
Organisation's Twitter: @airproductsuki


Tell us why you think it is important in today's world, to inspire young people into STEM and where applicable, why you and or your organisation gets involved and what you get out of it. 

"Air Products is a world leading industrial gas company. The Community & STEM Ambassador for the UK, Lynn Willacy, sees her role as getting young children - from primary school to university - excited about Science and Engineering, ultimately encouraging them to choose a STEM career, and inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers.

In doing this, we also address the need to encourage more women to study engineering; showing girls of all ages that engineering is not just for boys. 

Our network of ambassadors - volunteers from across our business - talk more about the gas industry and Air Products - includes a strong representation of females. 

With this programme we go into schools, free of charge, to do liquid nitrogen demonstrations and talk about Air Products - teaching the children about how gases impact on everyday life. 

This is done on an age-specific basis - some of our ambassadors will go into primary schools while some of our chemical engineers and more technical people will visit secondary schools and colleges. 

Although thrilling experiments have proved an excellent way to get more young people interested in a career in the industry - many of the initiatives Lynn has championed go much more in depth and explain to students the career options available to them. 

At Air Products, we believe that by addressing the gender imbalance, we can tackle the skills gap too. We do this by attending careers fairs to share the opportunities Air Products can offer and hold interview days to help students with specific employability skills. 

We also work with external organisations on specific projects. Colleagues from our Hersham office and some retirees have volunteered and supported the SATRO events for many years. Our links with SATRO have included the sponsorship of TeenTech, Problem Solving Challenges and the World of Energy activity." 


In relation to the above question, in your experience, what is getting better or worse and what in your view, are the barriers to sustained success and what do you see as the best way forward? 

"As we are moving towards a more digital and technology driven age, where young people are using technology in everyday life, the focus on supporting the need for STEM careers is more important than ever. 

However, what we need to ensure is that all skills continue to be represented, not just the technical skills that a student may find exciting, but those like communication and teamwork that are essential to a successful career. By working with SATRO, we are supporting a broad range of initiatives so that students fully understand the breadth of a STEM career. This type of partnership and the initiatives being undertaken are positive steps towards increasing the uptake of STEM subjects. 

The introduction of Gatsby Benchmarks within schools will encourage teachers to engage with employers more regularly, create relationships between education and industry, enable knowledge sharing and build awareness of career opportunities within STEM." 

- Lynn Willacy, Air Products 


Monday, 22 July 2019

Ishaan Ghatak - Summer STEM Work Placement Student - Weekly Reports

The STEM placement students are sending us weekly blogs all about their experience in the world of work! 

Work experience is great and it provides students with many benefits whilst gaining skills and helping choose the right future career path for pupils. Having work experience on a Curriculum Vitae will make a person stand out to employers as they will notice they have motivation and a real passion for work. It will also help to boost a students confidence in themselves! 






See how Ishaan is getting on with their STEM placement! 

Week One 

"In the first week of my SATRO research placement at WSP, I was able to find lots of information and online resources pertaining to the aim of my project. These include news articles, parliamentary records, academic publications, and reports from WSP. I have also learned about various aspects of engineering consultancy and professional life, such as Health and Safety, GDPR regulations, and being future ready. 

Furthermore, I attended a technical meeting with the highways team where we watched an informational training video on highway geometry for horizontal curves on motorways. Following the video, the team discussed topics including the design life of roads considering the development and production of autonomous vehicles in the near future. Next week, I will continue with research, but my main focus will shift to developing thorough solutions. Hence, I have a call scheduled with an engineer who has worked on traffic modelling in the area I am focusing on as he would be able to provide me with insights that could help me develop original solutions to the issue at hand." 

Week Two

"My second week at WSP began with a meeting with the technical director of transport modelling, who kindly provided me with several insights for my project. I was able to ask him questions regarding both the process of theoretical traffic modelling, as well as how it was applied in real life in the Port of Dover and M20 motorway. Furthermore, he advised me on how firms and engineering consultants must consider economics, deadlines, and feasibility of solutions when it comes to developing reports for clients. 

For the rest of the week, I continued working on my report and the specifics of my proposed schemes. In order to stay organised and on schedule, I have started using a timetable for daily tasks, as well as a Gantt chart for an overall view of my progress on the project." 

Week Three 

"In my third and final week, I was mainly focused on thoroughly developing potential solutions for my research project. This involved conducting more specific research, report writing, and technical development. Furthermore, for advise and checking the feasibility of my proposed schemes, I asked members of the highways engineering department for their help and guidance. Also, I have found that the organisational tools that I have been using (Gantt charts and timetables) are quite effective measures for being productive and staying on task. 

In addition to my research, I also learned a lot about university and career paths, as well as how engineers in various disciplines can acquire a chartered status to receive recognition of their competence and experience. 

Overall, my work experience at WSP was quite insightful for me as I was able to learn about the professional life of engineering consultants. Moreover, I got to work on an interesting and meaningful research project which showed me how valuable STEM is to society and the world." 

- Ishaan Ghatak 

André Dale - Summer STEM Work Placement Student - Weekly Reports










The STEM placement students are sending us weekly blogs all about their experience in the world of work! 

Work experience is great and it provides students with many benefits whilst gaining skills and helping choose the right future career path for pupils. Having work experience on a Curriculum Vitae will make a person stand out to employers as they will notice they have motivation and a real passion for work. It will also help to boost a students confidence in themselves! 


                        See how André is getting on with their STEM placement! 

Week One

"This first week has been about orientation, working out how to get from home to the University of Surrey (a three hour round trip if the trains are running on time), meeting my supervisors and learning the core Physics involved in my project, which I will be starting next week. I've also been learning the basics of Silvaco's simulation software and how it might be applied to the project. 

Overall, it's been a challenging, but interesting first week." 


Week Two

"This second week has been more interesting than the previous week. I have started working on the code relating to my project, creating the circuit which I will be simulating using SPICE (a circuit simulation software). There have been several problems and I have been using the Silvaco Atlas User Manual to try and fix the errors in my code. By the end of Friday, the program was working and so next week, I will be carrying out simulations on Pixel Driving Circuits." 

Week Three 

"Contrary to what I said last week, I've still been writing the code for my simulation. The program works fine when I use some of the Silvaco example structures, but since I'm not using these for my project, I have had to create my own structures.

This week, I have built a MOSFET and an SGT in Silvaco DeckBuild and I have been trying to incorporate them into the main simulation program which I made last week. I should be finished with this by the end of Monday next week." 
- André Dale

Friday, 19 July 2019

A Kibble Balance at the National Physical Laboratory by Guest Blogger John Faulkner


A Kibble Balance at the National Physical Laboratory, Teddington, Surrey

In 1972, a scientist working at the National Physical Laboratory in Teddington Surrey invented an instrument now known as the Kibble Balance. The purpose of Dr Kibbles balance was to resolve a growing problem facing metrology (the science of measurement). 

The modern world was in need of an agreed standard to measure mass to the highest possible precision and be universally available.

Until 16th November 2018, the world standard mass was a kilogram weight stored at the International Bureau for Weights and Measures in Paris. Copies of this mass in different countries were deteriorating and diverging in value over time. The standard was inconsistent. 

The Kibble balance uses an electromagnet to hold a weight in equilibrium. The electromagnet current is adjusted to counterbalance the force of gravity that attracts the mass of the weight down. Once balanced two high precision measurements are taken from the electromagnet, the electric current and its magnetic field. The results are then used to calculate the value of the mass. The equation makes use of some naturally occurring physical constants to produce a result. In the case of the balance, one of the constants is - Planks Constant, that is used in atomic theory known as Quantum Physics. 

Following measurement, if the calculation results in Planks Constant then the measured Mass is 1 kilogram. On World Metrology Day 16th November 2018 an internationally agreed value for Planks Constant was confirmed and so the Kibble Balance could be used to define a kilogram. 

The original mass in Paris and it's copies are now historical objects. 

Metrology uses The International System of Units (SI). 

There are seven base units to measure things: length-metre (m), mass-kilogram (kg), time-second (s), temperature-kelvin (K), electric current - ampere (A), amount of a substance - mole (mol) and luminous intensity of light-candela (cd).

- John Faulkner 

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Seyi Paul - Summer STEM Work Placement Student - Weekly Reports


The STEM placement students are sending us weekly blogs all about their experience in the world of work!
 Image result for google earth pro


Work experience is great and it provides students with many benefits whilst gaining skills and helping choose the right future career path for pupils. Having work experience on a Curriculum Vitae will make a person stand out to employers as they will notice they have motivation and a real passion for work. It will also help to boost a students confidence in themselves! 


See how Seyi is getting on with their STEM placement! 

Week One 

"During the first week of my experience, I learnt how to transfer data from their electronic report on PIMS onto data points on to Google Earth pro. During this process, I was able to gain an insight into the type of projects the organisation performs; such as Geo-Environmental and Geotechnical Interpretive reports; site specific risk assessment and remediation method statements and much more. 



To follow, I transfered GIS layers from the data government archive/data publisher such as flood areas, LIDAR and mining data and others onto the QGIS system, although, I had to make sure the files were 'WMS' (web mapping services) to ensure the data contained within the GIS system is up-to-data as these file types are automatically updated when new data is found. 

After all this data was inserted into GIS, my next task was to move all the data that was held on Google Earth pro onto GIS as this couldn't be done directly from the spreadsheet data using the prior system. This meant I had to download the Google Earth data as a KML as this represents geospatial data. 

Lastly, I formatted the KML files after they were added to the GIS to be acquired and used easily by altering their properties to fit with the style of Google Earth by making the data easily differentiable by making their visual properties distinct. 



Next week, my task would be to research and find a means to transfer data from the spreadsheet directly to our in-house GIS system." 

Week Two

"I had the opportunity to do some research this week as I was assigned the task of moving our spreadsheet data directly onto QGIS. The main problem I encountered was that it was difficult to find manuals on how to use various functions and plugins and means of data transfer, I found out I was able to convert my excel file into a CSV (Comma-Separated Variable); which then can be uploaded onto the QGIS system as a delimited text layer. Although, in order to allow my spreadsheet data to interact with existing base maps, I needed to manually add Easting-Northing co-ordinates onto their data. Thus, after this was completed, the job locator would directly place jobs from the spreadsheet and plot their precise location onto QGIS. 




The next task I was assigned by Tom - who is in charge of the CAD drawings - was to create a template for each type of site layout figure types on QGIS. On QGIS, these exist as a report and would enable the engineers to access drawings made for each site layout directly on QGIS. I had to follow the formatting used in previous jobs to maintain consistency when they create their reports."


Week Three

"I started off this week by working on a geo-environmental project in CGL. My first task was to read into what the CLEA model was, which is the Contaminated Land Environmental Agency. This model is a spreadsheet-based application used to estimate exposure to chemicals from soil onto humans on the land. My job was to create a parameter that focuses on school buildings. Whilst doing this, I had to research relevant parameters and their corresponding values; as well as looking at existing parameters and using intuition based off other building type data. To fill in values. After all parameter values were filled, I looked at the risk of a range of chemical compounds found in the soil, and how different concentrations found in a particular soil type – in our case, sandy loam – would cause harm to soil inhabitants."


- Seyi Paul 

Seung Joo Yang - Summer STEM Work Placement Student - Weekly Reports


Image result for civil engineer

The STEM placement students are sending us weekly blogs all about their experience in the world of work! 


Work experience is great and it provides students with many benefits whilst gaining skills and helping choose the right future career path for pupils. Having work experience on a Curriculum Vitae will make a person stand out to employers as they will notice they have motivation and and a real passion for work. It will also help to boost a students confidence in themselves! 

See how Seung Joo is getting on with their STEM placement! 


Week One 

"On the first day, we went through induction. First impression of the company was that it was bigger than I thought it was. It had many different departments, all related to civil engineering. The next few days we were taken to different departments like railways, highways and geotech. We learnt about what they do in those departments and some insight to the projects they are working on at the moment. It was a great experience of an engineering company and I could see myself in an environment like this as an engineer working with other engineers on a single project." 

- Seung Joo Yang

Inspiring Young People Into STEM - Why Is It Important?



Cathy Thompson


About Cathy Thompson: 

Profession: Qualified Careers Adviser 


About Cathy: Semi-retired, but still providing regular careers guidance to students at St Peter's Catholic School and involved in career development work at a national level. Was the Careers Lead at St Peter's for 8 years. Won a UK Career Development award in 2013 for our work engaging with employers, and a SATRO STEMX Award in 2017 for our work inspiring students to consider STEM careers. My careers provision was described as 'exceptional' by OFSTED in 2013 and our school maintains (with 2 re-accreditations so far) the Quality in Careers Standard. Have been invited to speak at a number of Conferences. 


Cathy's Linkedin Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/cathy-thompson-65310656/



Tell us why you think it is important in today's world, to inspire young people into STEM and where applicable, why you and or your organisation gets involved and what you get out of it. 

We all recognise that school students initially, generally know about only a few job sectors (namely medicine, law and media!) and therefore it is our responsibility as careers advisers to ensure that we sign-post students to the wealth of other opportunities available to them in other sectors, and especially STEM-related. If we don't do this, where are these young people going to hear about these, which could significantly impact what subjects they are studying and what qualifications they need? Also, with the impending huge gaps in digital skills and other STEM areas, we need to inform the students about labour market information so that they can make informed decisions about their future choices. 
At St Peter's, we invite into school and visit a total of about 200 employers and organisations a year, so that students can explore what's on offer, and hear first-hand from people who are currently 'doing the job' out in the world of work. Of these employers, a high percentage are working in STEM posts. I think the first thing that intrigues students is the vast range of jobs and sectors which involve/use Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths, including many of the 'arts' areas! Our students have found out about some very interesting STEM careers, including a clinical researcher, an architect, a sound engineer and designer, a civil engineer, a mechanical engineer, a medical scanners ops manager, a drilling engineer from BP, a doctor, an occupational therapist, a pilot, a telecoms engineer and a molecular virologist.  We work with SATRO, STEMNet (now STEM Sussex), the University of Surrey, past St Peter’s students (recent and those who have now worked for many years in STEM careers), our school parents, STEM-related apprenticeship providers, Inspiring the Future, Speakers for Schools.   Many of the STEM ambassadors/businesses we work with are women.  In fact, on our STEM networking activity, one year, all our engineers etc. were women!  We need to break stereotypes and encourage more female students to consider some of the great opportunities to work in STEM.


The benefit of these types of activities is well-informed students who can choose relevant courses and routes for their aspirations.  Whilst talking about routes, it is important also that students know that apprenticeships are becoming a truly viable alternative to university for some professional careers, with an increase in higher level, and in some cases, degree apprenticeships becoming more available.  Indeed, many employers are preferring this route, where they can ‘grow their own’ staff.   With degree apprenticeships becoming available in aerospace, architecture, nursing, and actuarial roles, for example, there is a conscious swing in the labour market to recruiting for these types of routes as opposed to recruiting graduates.


In relation to the above question, in your experience, what is getting better or worse and what in your view, are the barriers to sustained success and what do you see as the best way forward? 

Definitely ‘what is getting better’ is the range of STEM jobs on offer for our young people now!    Identifying the skill gaps has triggered an increase in opportunities for our students to ‘try out’ these types of careers on ‘Insight Days’, webinars and other kinds of work shadowing and work experience.  This said, some of these are very competitive and only open to students with relevant qualifications, though the climate is changing somewhat, providing wider access for students who may not possess the qualifications, but do have the personal qualities/employability skills which businesses are looking for.  This is also helping social mobility. 
‘What is getting worse’ is where to find all these opportunities, and to make sure that students don’t miss them!  There are a number of good sites which students can visit initially, to explore the types of opportunities available, like apprenticeships.org, graduate-jobs.com, studentladder, but often, the onus is on the student to do some in-depth research on employer sites to explore the range of opportunities available to them.
In my opinion, the barriers to sustained success in informing students about STEM-related work is two-fold: ensuring that schools have the resources to forge important links with their local labour market and further afield, and ensuring that businesses are not swamped (as some currently are) with requests from students to do work experience, which often is requested for the term of a whole week or longer.
More opportunities for students to do short-term (a day or two) of work shadowing/work experience, and encouraging SMEs to participate in these is, I believe the way forward.  An important part of this is the activities which SATRO provide for our students, to sample and explore STEM roles and develop the skills required for these jobs.  They provide great experiences and SATRO offer opportunities for individual students, groups or whole year groups!  Our school has participated in these over a number of years now, hosting their sixth form Maths Challenge, and this year, Year 8 Construction Challenge (open to all local schools), booking their Business Game each year to help our Year 10 students to develop important entrepreneurial skills, and attending Teentech.  SATRO have provided mentors and placements for our students over the past years, helping to inspire students and advise them about STEM-related careers.
Working in partnership with our local businesses and organisations, including SATRO is the way forward.  School staff invariably have few hours allocated to them to provide such important experiences, so should welcome any help they may be offered! 
I am optimistic that if we provide these types of opportunities, we will help to address the STEM skills gaps and hopefully inspire our young people with an exciting future in front of them.

- Cathy Thompson