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