Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Science in Primary Schools - Lucy Miguda

John Cridland, Director-General of the CBI recently said “How can we expect to inspire future generations of scientists and engineers if we don’t deliver high-quality and inspiring science lessons at primary school age?  If we are not careful, too many children will have lost interest in science before they reach their teens”.  SATRO is able to help teachers of whom over half say that primary science in schools is being squeezed out and that many teachers feel it is not a priority subject and many schools struggling to teach the recommended two hours per week.

Last year we worked with over 15,000 young people aged from 5 – 18 by delivering our inspirational hands on challenging and diverse programmes in schools.  Our programmes range from Fun Maths, Business Games, Career Speed Dating to ICT programming which are all delivered in an age appropriate manner utilising our 650 professional volunteers many of whom are from the science, technology, engineering and maths business sectors.

If you would like to know more about the programmes we run please contact for more information.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Why engage with schools? Corporate Social Responsibility - Lucy Miguda

Many companies use SATRO to help them meet their CSR targets by enabling them to engage with their local schools.  In the press we read constantly about employers concern about not being able to find the right kind of staff and students nowadays do not have the problem solving skills or ability to “think outside the box”.  Many of the programmes we run are designed to address these issues and more.  SATRO is an outstandingly effective educational charity which has been working with young people across the south east of England for 30 years and in that time has worked with over 450,000 young people.  We provide real-life experience of the working world particularly in Business, Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.

We inspire and enthuse young people about their future careers by giving them practical engagement opportunities with the working world throughout their time at school.  We offer bespoke packages to help you meet your CSR requirements for employee engagement:

·         Mentoring programmes
·         One day school events
·         High profile sponsorship opportunities

Last year, our business volunteers contributed 13,831 hours and 100% felt supported by SATRO and they would also volunteer again!  By partnering with SATRO you will be helping bridge the skills gap between education and business whilst engaging your employees.  We can help you:

Raise your community profile

Enhance employee skills

Increase job satisfaction

Attract the next generation of employees

Promote your brand through sponsorship

We provide meaningful data on the impact of your corporate community engagement.  We provide measurable outcomes to demonstrate the difference and impact your engagement has with young people in your area.  We provide rigorous training and DBS checks for volunteers.  We offer many inspiring programmes and we have an excellent record of working very successfully with large and small corporations: Allianz, Legal & General, Unum, Air Products, CISCO, ExxonMobil, Toyota (GB) Plc to name but a few.

Please contact Lucy Miguda, Business Development and Fundraising Manager or 01483 688070 for further information

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

What makes a scientist an outstanding leader? - Dr Rebecca Bowden

Listening to Radio 4 over the Summer I overheard a programme debating the challenges for Afghanistan as the new Government was faced with trying to pull together a highly fractured society. The interviewee was of the opinion that several of the candidates for leadership in the new government had more of a chance of bringing together all the warring factions than their predecessors because of their scientific and technical backgrounds (the new President is an anthropologist and the CEO a doctor of medicine; several of the senior leaders have engineering doctorates). The interviewee seemed to think that the ability to analyse complex problems in a dispassionate way was precisely what the country needed. I'm not sure this ability is unique to scientists and engineers – and it seems to me that whoever is to take on the job of bringing Afghanistan from the brink of self-destruction will have to be a pretty outstanding and remarkable individual – but it got me thinking about the qualities of an outstanding leader and whether there were any that were particularly found amongst scientists and engineers.

Some weeks later, I visited the Nobel Museum in Stockholm, where I was reminded that the chief reason that I first got interested in becoming a scientist was because of the remarkable stories of individual scientists and engineers. It was the human qualities of those individuals that fascinated me, not just the hard facts about their scientific work.

One of strongest qualities required of a good scientist, and a good leader too, is perseverance: The ability to keep going through many set-backs. As Marie-Curie, the recipient of Nobel Prizes in two different fields, and a rather remarkable woman, said ‘Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves’.

Of course blind perseverance in the face of all the evidence is not a quality of a good leader.  Scientists and Engineers must be good at taking risks and being willing to fail. The Mathematician and Biologist Jacob Bronowski put it best when he said: ‘Science is the acceptance of what works and the rejection of what does not. That needs more courage than we might think’.

Sometimes when we first encounter science in school we assume that science involves the learning of lots of facts correctly – when actually it is more about the great detective story of piecing all the evidence together and coming up with a theory – then testing that theory to see if it is the right one. In my experience inspiring leaders need some degree of fallibility – to be wrong sometimes and to admit it – to balance their willingness to take risks. Niels Bohr, who won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1922 said, ‘an expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made in a very narrow field’. Most exceptional leaders have made a whole heap of mistakes along the way – but they have always learnt form them.

Of course both the above qualities are nothing without good communication, remembering that this is a two way process. A good scientist (and leader) can clearly explain complex ideas, and paint a verbal picture of their vision, no matter who is in their audience. But they must also be able to listen. As that great communicator, the astronomer, Carl Sagan said, ‘Valid criticism does you a favour’.

One of the most attractive qualities of scientists and engineers I think, is that they are always questioning, always learning – it makes them fascinating people to hang around with. As Isaac Newton said, ‘to myself I am only a child playing on the beach, whilst vast oceans of truth lie undiscovered before me’. Many years later Charles Darwin, who made some great discoveries but got a few things spectacularly wrong, said ‘I love fool’s experiments, I am always making them’. It is this sense of wonder that I found most appealing about science growing up, I think.

Of course the qualities I've listed are not unique to scientists – and are not enough on their own perhaps to make a great leader – but maybe if we could teach science in a way that demonstrated these very human qualities of scientists and engineers, we could inspire more young people to enter a profoundly rewarding career? And maybe if we could remind scientists and engineers that they have all these qualities, we could also show them what good leaders they could make?

- Dr Rebecca Bowden, CEO SATRO

Thursday, 2 April 2015


My name is Martin and I am studying civil engineering at the University of Bath. As part of my sandwich course, I am currently undertaking an industrial placement with Tony Gee and Partners - a civil, structural and geotechnical consultant. I have been working in the highways group on various projects doing a variety of modelling, as well as sending information out for construction. The project I am currently working on consists of over 10km of road including a bridge across Kuwait bay and a number of complex interchanges!

Doing a placement has been a very valuable experience to me already, and I am only halfway through! I have improved my technical understanding in certain areas that I know will be useful for my final two years, as well as built upon concepts that have been touched upon at university already. One of the biggest benefits from my work experience, however, is an increased confidence in my own judgement and ability. This is a vital skill in the real world and simply cannot be taught at university because all the questions set have mark schemes, and getting it wrong doesn’t have the same implications!

I would highly recommend doing summer placements at the least, but if you have the opportunity to do so, an industrial year. As well as the skills, it is simply a great networking opportunity and your general thought process will change to help you make the most of your remaining education and prepare you for your career! It also makes you much more employable as a graduate, and many companies will even offer you a job after graduation!