Tag Archives: STEM

Talent Abounds at Big Bang SW

Team Juno with The Lord Mayor of Exeter
Team Juvo win ‘Best CREST Award’ presented by The Lord Mayor of Exeter

Talent abounds at Big Bang SW which is the South West’s schools largest celebration of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM). Held at the University of Exeter on June 21st and organised by Education Business Partnership SW its impossible not to be caught up in an upward spiral of inspiration and STEM possibilities.

Almost 2000 students from across Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Swindon and over 60 local, national and international organisations and sponsors, including Beckton Dickinson, Babcock International and Spirent arrived to showcase their work and inspire one another. An amazing ‘Mega Class’ in the form of an interactive science session for 500 students, led by the National Space Academy, took place in the Great Hall.

The prestigious Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Competition was one of many awards to be decided at this event.  Camborne Science and International Academy (CSIA) were delighted that students attending Nexus, their Gifted STEM programme, won two awards.  The Best Crest Award which was sponsored by Exeter City Council and awarded by The Lord Mayor of Exeter, herself a Maths & Physics graduate was won by team ‘Juvo’ (Latin for help, assist, aid) . Their project resulted from their desire to solve a problem: “We are Year 7s and we have first-hand experience of being new arrivals in a huge secondary school and needing some help finding our way around…” (Gabriel Almeida, Max Anthony and James Belshaw). Team Juvo came up with the concept of how schools could use technology to communicate better with students, staff and visitors with interactive screens positioned around the site. They thought through how essential it is to engage with students, staff and visitors by tailoring profiles containing a range of Apps to suit the three user groups. The interactive screens offered site maps, newsletters and school information accessible to all; to individual timetables, co-curricular activity information, school bulletin, CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection) reporting, Google drive and more, accessible to students; with other specific Apps aimed at teachers. “It’s like a digital friend who is always there to help you …” (Gabriel, Max and James).

As part of the Nexus Co-Curricular Programme, students will be learning how to develop Apps and look forward to Juvo developing their idea further. Mira Oates, Nexus Co-Curricular and Primary Coordinator was  understandably proud and excited by both the success of both teams. “Huge congratulations to all the students who took part and I am incredibly proud of them. I was quietly confident our students would win something because the quality of their ideas and their passion. The Juvo team have an excellent concept which I can genuinely see it successfully used in schools and other organisations”. (Mira Oates)

A full list of awards and the talented teams can be found here



Full STEAMM Ahead

Grand Challenges - University of Exeter - June 2016
Grand Challenges – Tackling 21st Century Interdisciplinary Dilemmas Together at the University of Exeter – June 2016

Recently we have been discussing the complex and volatile world in which we live and work, and the increasing need for more interdisciplinary teams.

Locally, Innovation Exeter is focused on cultivating a City-region which is a world-leader in environmental data analytics.  This is an interdisciplinary area and results will be achieved by exploiting the presence of the Met Office, the University of Exeter, the Science Park, the Maths School and other critical assets. STEM∗ STEMM° STEAMM℘ are top topics. Naomi Climer, the president of the Institute of Engineers, values the mix of creative and technical skills in individuals. However, the skills and personal qualities which underpin and enable interdisciplinary working in these highly technical areas are vital across all sectors and at all levels. If we are to tackle the productivity challenge and be more fulfilled individuals we need to unleash confidence, communicate effectively, collaborate meaningfully and re-discover curiosity.

Our meeting of Employers, Training Providers, Facilitators and Funders on Friday 25 November explored the theme Full STEAMM Ahead! Interdisciplinary STEAMM teams with strong collaborative abilities are the way ahead. We enjoyed presentations from and discussions with:

Kerry Burnham Exeter Maths School Creative and interdisciplinary project work with the University, Exeter College and employers – the benefits of being stuck!
Louise Cole & Kevin Feaviour Imagine If – Assets for Success Soft skills in schools, colleges, universities communities and the modern workplace


Rosie Bates Education Business Partnership STEAMM & the EBP – STEM Ambassadors, Big Bang etc


Anka Djordjevic Grand Challenges – University of Exeter Grand Challenges interdisciplinary enquiry –led learning with leading academics and external specialists


Jo McCreedie Careers & Employability – University of Exeter Internships & employability experiences

(Presentation to be added when technical glitches solved!)

Our main discussion points identified our need to:

  • Transcend silo mentality and cross boundaries
  • Ensure students experience breadth and develop interdisciplinary skills as study subject areas become more specific
  • Think beyond the immediate demand for STEM and not to fixate on ‘the now’
  • Focus on ‘Character, values and virtues’

We will need an interdisciplinary, creative, collaborative, innovative group to make this happen.

This was an interesting and informative start to what should be a Grand Challenge for Exeter and beyond.

Thanks to the Met Office who generously hosted this meeting.

∗STEM – Science Technology Engineering Maths
° STEMM – Science Technology Engineering Maths Medicine
℘ STEAMM – Science Technology Engineering Arts Maths Medicine

Tap into Top Talent

BSc Digital

Employers are invited to attend a free Business Breakfast taking place on Friday 11th March 08:00-09:30 supported by Santander Corporate & Commercial Bank, at Pynes Hill, Exeter, on behalf of the Exeter and Heart of Devon Employment and Skills Board.

The Business Breakfast will provide information and advice to employers on the benefits of tapping in to top talent through the Higher and Graduate apprenticeship route and is part of the National Apprenticeship Week 2016, which runs between 14th and 18th March.

This event will be beneficial to employers who are looking to grow their own top talent, as well as those who have already benefitted from employing Intermediate and Advanced level apprentices and would like to explore Higher or Graduate apprenticeships. Businesses which operate in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and Knowledge Based Industries (KBI) are encouraged to attend, as are those who are interested in finding out about the new Degree Apprenticeships at the University of Exeter. The Exeter and Heart of Devon Employment and Skills Board encourages high quality apprenticeships across all sectors and levels, with particular interest in technical and higher entry level apprenticeships.

Simon McGinnes from The University of Exeter, will talk about the exciting new initiative of Degree Apprenticeships in Digital and Technology Solutions. Also included on the agenda are presentations from successful apprentice employers and the opportunity for a question and answer session within an expert panel discussion. Representatives from the local Apprenticeship Ambassador Network will be available to provide more information and insights during networking time.

The introduction of the apprenticeship levy from April 2017 will encourage employers to think more about benefitting from apprenticeships. Funding opportunities for employers and apprentices have changed with the Government making a significant contribution to Graduate apprentice tuition fees.

Apprenticeships are fast becoming an alternative route into gaining knowledge and skills for the workplace. This increase in work-based learning is growing noticeably, Exeter College anticipates that apprenticeship enrolments are set to exceed those enrolling into ‘A’ Level routes.

All of these interesting and timely topics will be discussed at the event, which is free to attend and includes breakfast and corporate hospitality.

Places are limited to 40 and businesses who would like to take part should register here or contact the Exeter and Heart of Devon Employment and Skills for further information by emailing oenone.thomas@exeter.gov.uk or ringing 01392 265344 by 4 March 2016.


Be involved with Big Bang!

Come along and find out about the Big Bang South West 2016 Event. How you can take part and what it could do for you…
Judges at The Big Bang Fair, Photo by Pinnacle
Judges at The Big Bang Fair, Photo by Pinnacle

You are invited to celebrate the launch of The Big Bang South West, the region’s largest celebration of youth Science and Engineering. During 2015/16 The Big Bang will reach over 12,000 young people in the South West. The year’s activity culminates in the headline event hosted by the University of Exeter where we are joined by 2,000 young people who are talented, creative and bursting with enthusiasm for a career in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.

The event fuels the future talent pool in the region and is the perfect place for students to discover career opportunities on their doorstep. It gives employers a chance to highlight their offer and stop the migration of talent out of the South West.

The success of The Big Bang South West is built on a fantastic partnership of education and employers. There are numerous opportunities throughout the year to be a part of it. You could be a competition judge, a project mentor, an exhibitor at the Fair or, an event sponsor helping to make this Big Bang the best regional event in the country.

The Big Bang South West 2016 Launch is:

  • on Wednesday 11 November
  • at Exeter Science Park, Babbage Way Clyst Honiton EX5 2FN GB
  • between 17:00 and 18:00 hours.

To view the Big Bang 2015 videos and gallery click here.

Refreshments will be available.

For further information contact: bigbang@ebp-sw.org

Book now – http://bigbangsouthwest2016launch.eventbrite.co.uk

Home for Met Office new super computer

Future home for Met Office Supercomputer on Exeter Science Park
Artist’s impression of the future home for Met Office Supercomputer on Exeter Science Park

The Exeter & Heart of Devon Employment and Skills Board (EHOD ESB) are working with local councils and the Growth Point team to maximise the potential for recruitment of local skills development and employment. In the Construction Industry this may be achieved through the adoption of the Construction Industry Training Board’s (CITB) Client Based Approach (CBA) which sets the expectation that construction companies and their sub contractors, whether new build or for maintenance, invest in local skills development and employment opportunities, managed and measured through a set of key performance indicators (KPI) commensurate with the project type and scale.

We are delighted that Willmott Dixon who will be building a home for the final part of the Met Office’s new supercomputer at the Exeter Science Park have already committed to:

  • Local spending, labour and employment which through a set of KPIs enable them to quantify the indirect economic impact of their work on local communities
  • Participate in the Construction Ambassadors’ scheme, where Willmott Dixon employees, visit schools, colleges and career events, and organise site visits and share positive experiences, promoting construction as a rewarding career.

Nationally Willmott Dixon’s 2014 community investment activities included:

  • £2.27 million contributed to enhancing local communities
  • 1,854 young people mentored
  • 326 young people had work placements
  • 500+ fundraising events for charity
  • 57 careers events interacting with 3,700 young people
  • 372 community events, from garden makeovers to renovations and repairs
  • 11 fantastic activities in the management trainee challenge contributing over £250,000 to local communities
  • 1,546 young people had their prospects transformed, (under Willmott Dixon’s definition) which is halfway towards h their target of 3000
  • £2,827 added by The Foundation’s Just Giving process to the £49,000 raised by staff through individual projects

Willmott Dixon say that “social and community investment and engagement is locked into our corporate DNA!”

We need more Big Data Champions

Big Data Human Resource Drill Down and Sample Comments
Graph showing the Human Resource Drill Down & Sample Comments

We tried something new at the Unlocking Big Data – Investing in Human Capital event. We dispensed with the flip charts and the break-out sessions and gathered, analysed, presented and interpreted the real-time contributions of delegates.

So how did we find out that we need more Big Data Champions?

In addition to the discussion happening in the room, attendees also shared their thoughts on Twitter, using the #UnlockingBigData hashtag and on a private comments submission system reserved exclusively for the event. Paul Howarth from PanSensic undertook the analysis of 174 free field comments from 5 stakeholder groups made through the submission system and then presented his initial analysis and interpretation to the delegates.

The headlines were:

Extracting value from Big Data
  • Resistance to change
  • Cost/benefits of working with Big Data
  • Understanding the value in Big Data & how to get at it
  • Challenges for SME’s
Human Resource
  • Concerned with what kind of people we want, how to identify them and attract them, how to train and keep them
  • The high cost of skills, team building and integration into the organisation
  • How do we know what skills are required, will be required?
  • How do we teach them and how do we keep up?
  • How do we get young people into the field?
  • How do we tap into existing expertise?

Following the event, in-depth analysis drilled down into each of the themes and a series of PanSensic lenses was used to reveal even more. The PanSensic Mercury lens, a way of looking at “personality essence” revealed the lack of Big Data Champions and Route Finders. Big Data Champions and Route Finders help create a virtuous circle – open to change, embraces the cost benefit analysis and leads to a greater understanding of the value of Big Data, and so on.

Graph showing the findings revealed by the PanSensic Mercury Lens
Graph showing the findings revealed by the PanSensic Mercury Lens

The new Met Office super-computer, the opening of the first building on the Science Park, the growing concentration of STEM industries and organisations points to a vibrant digital future. A future which requires access to talent to take it forward.

Big Bang Fair South West

Group science experiment
Big Bang South West © Dan Mullan/Pinnacle

Alex Ledbrooke from Education Business Partnership South West and member of the Exeter and Heart of Devon employment and Skills Board writes –

There is a little over a month to go before The Big Bang Fair South West takes centre stage in Exeter.  This annual event is now a major feature of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) calendar for schools who come along to celebrate the very best in youth STEM in the region.

The event includes a variety of offers for students that attend including the exciting British Science Association backed, National Science and Engineering Competition.  Students from the area have an excellent track record in the competition with winners at the South West event attending the National finals where they been placed as high as runner-up against thousands of other students.  The projects students present range from the weird and wonderful to the truly mind boggling.  Our judges on the day always come away feeling inspired by the students and reassured we have a lot of talent in the area.

Petroc students hands-on at Big Bang
Petroc students hands-on at Big Bang

But how to keep hold of that talent?  Another feature of The Big Bang Fair South West is the “Career Zone”.  STEM employers attend with fantastic interactive displays helping students understand what their business is about, what sort of career it can offer and what skills the employer is looking for if a student wants to pursue it further.  For many companies this is a brilliant way of raising their profile amongst the next generation.  If you’re not on the high-street it can be hard to get noticed but here every one can been seen and the opportunities become tangible.  From here we are able to identify opportunities in the South West and hopefully keep hold of the talent that might otherwise be lost as students feel the need to migrate.

If all that wasn’t enough students will also attend huge live STEM shows which this year are being delivered by the National Space centre and BAE Systems.  Both shows offer students a unique experience of learning with some of the county’s leading experts in a room full of people that simply love STEM subjects.

The whole event is delivered by Education Business Partnership South West (part of the CSW Group) and hosted by the University of Exeter.  Two thousand of the region’s brightest young talent will be under one roof, can you afford not to support an event like this?

For more information please contact emma.walter@ebp-sw.org  or call 01392 215501.