School children from across Tyneside have been given the opportunity to discover more about careers in a range of subjects including science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), after Gateshead College opened its doors to two of its campuses.
To mark International Women’s Day (Thursday, March 8) Gateshead College welcomed students from Corpus Christi, Brighton Avenue, Lingey House, St Bede and Shiremoor primary schools.
Students were given the opportunity to visit the college’s automotive and engineering skills academy, and its Baltic campus, to learn about STEM subjects and careers in computing, games design, construction and the built environment, through a range of activities and talks.
Corpus Christi and Brighton Avenue pupils were invited to the automotive and engineering skills academy and were shown the uses of kinetic energy, using a car crash simulation as an example of how kinetic force works.
They were then tasked with an ‘egg drop’ challenge, which saw students build a device to house a raw egg, using various everyday materials, including paper, straws and rubber bands.
The challenge for the students was to create a device strong enough for the raw egg to withstand the force of the drop without breaking. The task was designed to encourage them to think about the uses and effects of kinetic energy.
Meanwhile, at the Baltic Campus, level three software development students from the college were on hand to help pupils from Lingey House, St Bede and Shiremoor in their challenge to programme robots, using specialist computer software.
Katy Malia, automotive teacher and STEM ambassador at the college inspired pupils after she spoke about the possibilities of careers within STEM, giving examples of women who are leaders within the industry.
Alongside Katy, Steve Logan, project consultant for PlanBee at the college gave the pupils an insight in to the built environment industry and potential careers within engineering, construction, and architecture.
Katy said: “Welcoming students from various primary schools was a great opportunity for us to showcase what STEM subjects have to offer.
“It was fantastic to see the students so engaged with the range of activities going on. Events and activities like this play a key part in allowing young girls to develop an interest in these subject areas.
“If we can get people interested in these areas from an early age, in the long term it will be hugely beneficial in addressing the skills shortages faced in these industries. I also think that activities like this are really important in demonstrating that women can pursue and have a successful career within STEM industries.”
Gateshead College is heavily involved in driving interest in STEM subjects and careers. In September 2017, the organisation joined forces with academics and industry leaders around Europe to share ideas on how to boost the number of female students studying STEM subjects in higher and further education.
The college also runs a Career College initiative, allowing 14-16-year olds to take part in a construction and built environment programme, while still gaining their GCSE qualifications from school.