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Students with their sights set on a career in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) enjoyed a hands-on challenge at three events supported by AWE Aldermaston.
A-level students from Queen Mary’s College in Basingstoke, The Downs School near Newbury and Little Heath, Theale Green and Willink schools in the Reading area, tested their analytical skills in a series of tasks designed and led by members of the AWE Graduate Scheme.
The tasks included solving cryptography and maths puzzles to decrypt the combination for a locked briefcase; programming and navigating a robot through a twisting obstacle course; using forensic science techniques to gather fingerprints and track a down a master ‘criminal’; constructing and calibrating a simple projectile device using magnets and ball bearings and improving the performance of a miniature Stirling Engine.
Philippa Kent, who leads AWE’s schools’ programme, said: “Each challenge was designed to promote interest in STEM careers and gave the students an opportunity to have a face-to-face discussion with recent STEM graduates now working at AWE, many of whom are only a few years older than the students.
“The events also encourage students to consider a future in STEM fields, giving them a taste of just some of the exciting and rewarding careers available, such as computer science, forensics, physics and mechanical engineering and the variety of entry routes available, such as the AWE Apprenticeship Scheme.”.
Sophie Arbon, of the educational charity West Berkshire Education Business Partnership, which worked with AWE to organise two of the events,said: “We are really happy at the success of these challenges. They help support business skills development and give students a chance to meet science and technology professionals and, at a time when they are starting to make university choices, understand what career options are out there.”
The modern AWE apprenticeship scheme has been running for nearly 65 years and 11% of the workforce are ex-apprentices. The scheme typically recruits 45 new apprentices each year between November and January. For more information about the AWE apprenticeship scheme go to www.AWE.co.uk