Monday, September 21, 2015

Scientists and Engineers of the Future – Engaging with Primary Schools

Johnson Matthey hosted ‘Scientists and Engineers of the Future: Engaging with Primary Schools’, during the summer, at it’s site in Royston, UK. The event brought together scientists, engineers, teachers, children and industry representatives to promote CIEC’s Children Challenging Industry.
 The event  celebrated two successful years of Children Challenging Industry(CCI) in Royston during which over 600 children from local schools have taken part in lessons with industrial links and benefited from meeting scientists and engineers from Johnson Matthey either as part of an interactive  site tour or welcoming ambassadors in to their schools.  The experience shows the children   what a career in science or engineering could mean for them. Johnson Matthey have expressed their commitment to extending the project to enable more children to take part in the future.
Children from Roysia Middle School, St Mary’s Catholic Primary School and Fowlmere Primary School demonstrated their CCI practical science alongside staff from Johnson Matthey demonstrating science activities children see during site visits.  Speakers included Joy Parvin, Director of the CIEC, who spoke about the fact that in 1919 6% of engineers were women and how current research shows that the 6% figure sadly remains unchanged.  Clare Warren, Primary Science Advisory Teacher thanked all those at Johnson Matthey, and the teachers and children who have made the project such a great success.

 Zoe Linington, Head Teacher at Roysia Middle School, passionately endorsed the project as supporting the next generation of scientists and engineers, ‘It is vital that science is relevant to everyday life. That is where the Children Challenging Industry project has its greatest impact. Young children need to see the relevance of abstract concepts. They need to love their science education so much that they don’t want to give it up. Uptake at A level and degree level must be improved so that as a country we are growing the next generation of innovators. They will be the ones that will solve the difficulties facing our planet. Surely it is our patriotic duty to invest heavily in science education?’
Chris Morgan, Technical Director reinforced why the project is so important to Johnson Matthey and last, but by no means least, children from St Mary’s enthusiastically shared their experience of the project and received the loudest round of applause. 
Research has shown that while children enjoy science in primary school too few of them aspire to become scientists and views about their career aspirations remain fairly fixed through secondary school.  The recent CBI report Tomorrow’s World identified that there are simply not enough young people pursuing study and careers in these areas.  Through this CIEC initiative, Johnson Matthey are working hard to change minds and give children positive messages about potential careers in science or engineering.

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