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Industrial scientists and engineers help inspire children to study science

Posted on 23 January 2012

Four Teesside school children helped Chemistry Department staff promote a new scheme to motivate children to study science when they met MPs and business leaders at the House of Commons.

Esther McVey MP with the four Teesside students

The four pupils, aged 12 and 13, from St Michael’s Roman Catholic School in Billingham, worked on a Future Scientist Programme pilot with CIEC Promoting Science - a group based in the University of York’s Department of Chemistry, and Johnson Matthey Catalysts of Billingham.

CIEC Promoting Science aims to show how industry touches our lives, as well as enhance the effective teaching of science.

The House of Commons visit marked the launch of the Future Scientist Programme for secondary school children - an expansion of the Children Challenging Industry scheme which has targeted primary school children since 1996.

Both projects are aimed at teachers, children and science-based manufacturing companies, and encourage children to tackle real problems encountered in science-based industries, improving the children’s motivation and understanding.

The Future Scientist Programme pilot involved nine industry ambassadors from Johnson Matthey helping Year 7 children to plan and carry out a comparison of two different catalysts last year.

The House of Commons event was hosted by Esther McVey MP, Chair of the Chemical Industry All Party Parliamentary Group. The Future Scientist delegation included Billingham school children George Bailey, Max Bover, Amanda Cardoza and Ellie Redhead, as well as representatives from York’s Department of Chemistry, Johnson Matthey Catalysts and Thomas Swan & Co Ltd, sponsors of the Children Challenging Industry scheme.

The event provided the perfect platform to explain how this exciting new project is expanding on the excellent work of the Children Challenging Industry project in primary schools. Feedback from the children involved in the pilot was extremely positive, with many commenting on what a difference it made to learn through real-life scenarios rather than textbooks. 

Gayle Pook, Director of CIEC Promoting Science

The children we took to London are enthusiastic ambassadors for the scheme and were able to explain to MPs and industry leaders how they have been inspired and motivated to become more involved in opportunities to study science.”

Ellie Redhead, 12, one of the children attending the event at Westminster, said: “This project has shown us what real scientists and industry are about. It has reminded us of our first industrial experience in Year 6.”

Fellow student Max Bover, also 12, added: “I had not thought about a job in industry before, but I am now. There are so many exciting jobs in industry that I had not thought of before.”