Friday, 29 August 2014


SATRO celebrates its 30th birthday this year and we have been busy organising a range of exciting activities to commemorate this amazing anniversary. As well as a sponsored walk, fundraising concert and cross-school competition, we are able to launch a creative new look which reflects the inspiring work we do with over 18,000 young people every year.
SATRO has worked in partnership with sector-focussed integrated communications agency Embrace, who generously created a new visual identity for the charity on a completely pro-bono basis. Our new look incorporated the concept of ‘starting the chain reaction’. It was precisely this which introduced us to Embrace – a conversation with a volunteer, who then talked to her husband, who turned out to be Creative Director of Embrace, Andrew Patterson. And a few months on, a new-look SATRO.

Here’s what Andrew has to say about why he got involved with SATRO:

“My wife was in touch with SATRO via networking to help with a video, and my kids were involved in SATRO workshops at their school. Both were really impressed with the ambition and the ability to bring STEM to life and I wanted to help SATRO reach a wider and relevant audience and communicate what they had to offer. By looking at their identity we wanted to visually and verbally capture the energy and excitement of all those involved, from the kids to the volunteers, creating a spark and starting a chain reaction. As designers and creatives we are always looking for the latest and freshest ideas and we are glad to help in the search to inspire the next generation of engineers and creative thinkers.” 

With more than a nod to the complex and clever work of Heath Robinson and Rube Goldberg, our new look reflects how a mix of sciences transfer an object from one place to another.

SATRO, CEO Dr Beccy Bowden explains “I’m absolutely delighted by the new branding that Embrace have come up with for SATRO – it superbly captures our purpose.   SATRO’s events and programmes for young people often result in them successfully achieving goals they couldn’t have anticipated, or spark interests they couldn’t have imagined. We aim to light the ‘blue touch paper’ of aspiration to spark off chain reactions in young people which will result in successful and rewarding careers for them. A bit like our new logo, who would have thought that a chance meeting with members of the Embrace team several months ago would have led to such an exciting outcome. The whole Embrace team have been a delight to work with and really understood our ethos from the start – we are blown away that thanks to their generosity in gifting their time to us, a small charity with no funding to spare has ended up with an outstandingly professional new brand that will give us a huge boost as we start the next 30 years of inspiration!”

SATROMobile Student Prize Scheme

This year we have introduced a student prize scheme for students working with our construction mobiles. Supported by The Carl Burrows Trust, prizes have been presented to twelve students for their application, effort and attitude as well as skill. Nicky Burrows from the trust and Rob Riddelsdell from SATRO were able to visit and make the presentations at several of the schools. After such a successful trial we hope to extend the scheme across the whole mobiles programme next year.

"Recognition and reward for his performance is a huge boost for him and makes a big difference. Just look at his face. This is a great idea.” (Headteacher)

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Increase in BTEC pass rate for SATROmobiles!

This year, an impressive 84.5% of students working with our construction mobiles passed their BTEC qualification. This is an improvement on excellent results last year. “A great achievement”, said Rob Riddelsdell (Senior Manager at SATRO). “The students respond so well to our tutors from the construction industry.” 

SATRO would like to congratulate all SATROmobile students for their achievements this year. We wish you all the best in the future.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014


Fabia from Strode's College started a SATROClub extended work placement at the University of Surrey on 21st July for 4 weeks. Here's what she had to say about her experience after just a week.

"On the first day we were given a tour of the university followed by journal reading of researches on Vitamin D.
Second day was at Woking town centre with Louise, where we looked for volunteers willing to take a survey on Vit D. At first it was quite difficult given that we had to recruit South Asian volunteers only. Fortunately we were quite successful that day as we got more volunteers than expected.
On the third day, we took a tour to the Surrey Sports Park. There we observed the physical changes like heart rate, oxygen saturation, tidal volume of a person on an exercising bike, the resistance of which increases as time passes. We also had an optional seminar on 'Preventing Brain-Injury Associated with Depression'. Unfortunately I could not attend that seminar since I had blistered my feet that day.

We spent the fourth and fifth day mostly in the office, working on a critical review and the introduction of the report for the Gold Crest Award. The critical review is on a research journal that Louise had set out for each of us. We we'll be presenting our review on the coming Tuesday."

We hope the rest of your placement was as enjoyable and educational as the first week! 

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

SATROClub Extended Work Placement

In July, Thomas from Esher College participated in a SATROClub Extended Placement at the University of Surrey. Here is what he had to say only one week into his placement.

"I found that the first two days were quite intense because my supervisor (Radu) had to teach me a lot of complicated physics. I now understand most of it and it is becoming easier. I have also started using some software to simulate transistors and it didn't take long to get used to it. I am on track to completing my project in 4 weeks. Radu and I created a rough plan for the duration of the project, showing what needs to be done each day, and I am not behind on anything (so far). Although some of the theory involved in the project is very advanced, it is very interesting and I am really enjoying it because I am learning something new and different to what I have learned in college. Radu is a great supervisor. He is very helpful and a good teacher. He is also very friendly and I enjoy going to lunch with him and Will, who is working on a similar project with Radu."

We hope the rest of your placement was just as enjoyable as the first week, Thomas!

Friday, 22 August 2014

Tackling Youth Unemployment - Vocational Training

For the sake of young job seekers standing a better chance of securing work, they need to be better educated on the variety of options that are available to them after leaving school – this means looking at alternatives to conventional study.
Vocational training, as an alternative pathway into work, is very often overlooked. However, it is an extremely valuable one that should definitely be considered. Vocational students can learn skills quickly and are able to start looking for work within weeks or months after qualifying, as opposed to years.

For more on this story visit this website.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014


The number of students studying STEM subjects and A-lever is still growing, for the fifth year in a row, according to official figures, however a gender gap is still occurring.Maths is now the most popular A-level among students, with 88,816 candidates, after English slipped down to second place amid a 4.6% fall in entries. The number of girls studying physics has increased by 4.7% however there is still a significant gap between the number of boys taking this subject compared to girls. We are slowly heading in the right direction, with more students taking up STEM subjects. However, it is important that there is a concerted effort between government, industry and the education sector to continue driving students into STEM, but also an increased effort to close the gender gap.
Visit this website for more details and statistics covering this subject.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014


Atdhe is on an extended work placement at Jacobs, an engineering company. Here is what he had to say about his experience so far...

"I'm already finding the placement positively challenging and intriguing, I have been given 3 possible situations that I could choose to work on: The first being some restructuring work at Sydney Harbour Bridge; the second was the replacement of the deck at Church Bridge in Gloucester; and the final option was work on Carter Bridge in St. Helens. I spent the first couple of days making myself aware of the context behind each bridge, reading various reports and analysing complex drawings. Towards the end of the week we decided to exclusively look at the Church and Carter Bridge's further. On Friday I spent many hours working out various dimensions and researching material densities in order to determine the impact of each option on the environment with respect to their carbon footprints. A major surprise to me is in how relevant my work is and the responsibility and freedom that I have been given in carrying out my work, in such a manner that I have never experienced prior to this week."

We hope you enjoy the next three weeks of your placement, Atdhe! 

Monday, 18 August 2014


Congratulations to the 'SATRO Strollers', Lisa Dimbylow, Dani Longhurst and Jane De la Rosa, for completing the Surrey 3 Peaks Challenge yesterday. And, a huge thank you to all the people who sponsored them.

Trekking across Holmbury Hill, Leith Hill and Boxhill, they raised funds towards SATRO's '£30k for 30 years' fundraising campaign.

The ladies were surprised on the way round by bumping into two of their colleagues, Fiona Rochez and Janet Preston, SATRO Trustee, who volunteered to be marshals for the day.

For the walkers, the spectacular views over Surrey were hopefully ample reward their efforts!

If you would like to volunteer or take part in any fundraising efforts for SATRO then please visit our website for details. 

Thursday, 14 August 2014


All of us at SATRO would like to say a big well done to all students collecting their A Level results in Surrey and borders today – you’ve worked very hard and you deserve your success!

But if you aren’t so happy with your results we’d also like to say, DON’T PANIC!

We work with thousands of young people in Surrey and borders every year, including hundreds who receive one to one mentoring from our volunteers – so we know that far too often it can seem like this is your ‘one chance’ in life to get it right.

Of our 650+ volunteers, from all areas of the working world, some did get it right first time – but a huge number didn't, and lots and lots of them didn't discover what they wanted to do until they had tried several different things first (and hated them!) – and they are all successful and love what they do now (which is why they volunteer for us, to help inspire you!).

So here’s what to do next if you are not jumping for joy today:

·         If you don’t get the grades requested by the university of your choice, approach them and see if they are prepared to take you on for different courses. Alternatively, approach other universities – you might find they will offer you a place.
·         Talk to as many people – parents, teachers, mentors, friends, careers advisers – as possible to get a good idea for what your options are.
·         Further advice can also be found via

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Developing Female Engineers

The Institution of Engineering and Technology says the impression that ‘engineering is just for men’ needs to change in British businesses are to be successful. Research carried out by the institution has shown that the number of female engineers has remained at just 6% for past few years. The government announced in June, that it would be providing funding of £30 million to increase the supply of engineers, encourage more women into the sector and to address engineering skills shortages in smaller companies. The fund will enable engineering companies to establish training programmes to develop future engineers and boost the number of women in the profession. £10 million of the fund will be directed to a call to ‘Developing Women Engineers’. 

Tuesday, 12 August 2014


Student Thomas Burridge started his placement at the University of Surrey on 14th July, where he would be working for 4 weeks. Here is what he had to say about his experience after 2 weeks..

"I am now 2 weeks into my placement (started on 14th July). I found that the first two days were quite intense because my supervisor (Radu) had to teach me a lot of complicated physics but I now understand most of it and it is becoming easier. Although some of the theory involved in the project is very advanced, I am really enjoying it because I am learning something new and different to what I have learned in college.
My project is based on simulating transistors so I have learned how to use some software to simulate the transistors and it didn't take long to get used to it. We spent three days making transistors in the lab and then testing them, which I thought was very interesting. Overall I have had a great experience so far and I am looking forward to the next 2 weeks of my placement."

We hope you enjoyed the final 2 weeks of your placement Thomas!

Monday, 11 August 2014

SATROClub Extended Work Placement

Student Sagar Jaiswal from Strode's College has been involved in a SATROClub Extended Work Placement over the past few weeks at Technotomy, a specialist software development business. Here is what he had to say about his experience after only just a few days in...

"Having started my placement in Technotomy just a few days ago I have already learnt so many things. From overcoming complex problems to the art of coffee making, Technotomy has involved me at every step.

So far, this placement has provided me with a chance to learn new programming skills that will prove vital for my chosen degree at University. It has also given me an opportunity to implement and enhance my programming skills already learnt.

It has given me a chance to be independent on a big project and helped me to realise my true potential. In this placement, everyday is different where I have not found a task challenging. This further motivates me to complete the task with in stipulated deadline. This is one of the main reasons for me to look forward to the placement.

Lastly, it proves to portray itself like a job and provides me the taste of how it would be to work in a real company. All in all I am having a very good experience."

Friday, 8 August 2014


With the PGA Championships beginning today, we thought it would be topical to have a blog about a bit of the science behind golf! So here goes the science behind the dimples in a golf ball… About a century ago, golfers began to realise that a scuffed-up ball with dents and dimples from long use, travels further than a smooth new ball, so, golf balls gained dimples. Gold ball manufacturers now invest millions each year to design the best performing golf balls. The dimples in gold balls create turbulence, or ‘mixed air flow’ which, if designed correctly, reduces drag on the ball. There are two main types of airflow – laminar and turbulent. Laminar movement creates less drag but it is susceptible to ‘separation’ – where the air layer that ‘clings’ to the ball as it moves to the air separates from the ball. Turbulent flow creates more drag initially, but is less vulnerable to separation. At high speeds, like that of a golf ball, you will want this air layer to cling to the ball as possible, and the dimples in the ball allow this to happen! 

Thursday, 7 August 2014


On this day in 1979, several tornadoes struck the city of Woodstock, Ontario in Canada. A tornado is am extreme, destructive, rotating column of air which descends from a thunderstorm down to the ground. No other extreme weather incident can match the frenzy and destructive power of tornadoes. A tornado can be strong enough to destroy large buildings, leaving only the bare concrete foundations.  The strength of a tornado is measured by the Enhanced Fujita Scale. Scientists don’t fully understand how tornadoes form. A ‘parent super cell thunderstorm’ is needed to start a tornado. Some research suggests that it has to do with how strongly the wind changes direction along with height, how much moisture is in the air or the difference between the temperature of the surrounding air and the temperature of the cold down-drafts coming from the storm. 

Wednesday, 6 August 2014


On this day in 1996, NASA announced the discovery of potential evidence of an early life form on Mars. It came in the form of an alleged tiny fossil found on a meteorite in Antarctica, which was believed to have come from Mars. The fossil could only been seen as a highly magnified image, as a microscopic tube-like form, less than 1% of the width of a human hair. Some believed that it could perhaps represent a simple Martian organism that lived over 3.6 million years ago. A huge impact 16 million years ago could have blasted the rock into space, and it landed in Earth’s Antarctica only 13,000 years ago. The meteorite ‘ALH 84001’ also carried organic molecules and mineral features which are characteristics of biological activity. At best, the evidence is inconclusive, and other scientists often entirely dispute the interpretation.  

Tuesday, 5 August 2014


On this day in 1930, Neil Armstrong was born. He was an American astronaut, and the first person to ever walk on the Moon. He was also an aerospace engineer, naval aviator, test pilot and a University Professor. Before becoming an astronaut, Neil Armstrong was an officer in the U.S. Navy and served in the Korean War during the 1950’s. When the war had ended, he earned his bachelor’s degree and became a test pilot at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (which then became NASA), where he logged over 900 flights. Armstrong joined the NASA Astronaut Corps in 1962, and made his first space flight, as command pilot of Gemini 8, becoming NASA’s first civilian astronaut to fly in space. His second and last space flight was as mission commander of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing in July 1969. During this mission, Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin descended to the lunar surface and spent two and a half hours exploring.

Monday, 4 August 2014

SATROClub Extended Work Placement

Today, a student from Guildford College will be starting her SATROClub extended work placement, which will last for four weeks, at The Surrey Wildlife Trust. The trust is one of 47 individual Wildlife Trusts covering the whole of the UK. They are the UK's largest people-powered environmental organisation working for nature's recovery on land and at sea. They currently manage 82 sites, together covering almost 8,000ha, which is 5% of the land area of the county. They work with many partners and other landowners to advise on land management for conservation, with particular emphasis on woodland, wetlands, and heathland. Good luck on your placement, Lauren!

Friday, 1 August 2014


In a series of experiments concluding in 1774, Joseph Priestley, British Presbyterian minister and chemist found that “air is not an elementary substance, but a composition,” or mixture, of gases. On this day in 1774, he found that among them was the colourless and highly reactive gas he called “dephlogisticated air,” to which the great French chemist, Antoine Lavoisier would soon give the name “Oxygen.” Priestley found that mercury heated in air became coated with ‘red rust’ of mercury, which, when heated separately, was converted back to mercury with ‘air’ given off. Studying this air, he observed that candles burned very brightly in it, and that a mouse in a sealed vessel could breathe this gas much longer than ordinary air.