Graham Engineering Ltd is part of the national STEM programme which hosts events within schools and colleges involving attested “STEM Ambassadors”, aiming to get young people inspired about their future careers. The aim of STEM is to grow ‘Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths’ and in Lancashire the strong STEM network is passionate in offering bespoke, personal advice which will help to suit the needs of companies, schools and students which all take part in the North West STEMFirst programme.

The STEMFirst programme provides a networking structure and support to businesses, organisations and individual who want to help young people across Lancashire in STEM subjects, to assist them target their efforts and resources to achieve the best results for them and young people. At Graham Engineering we have six STEM Ambassadors who all play a different role in the business; Ian Bannister-Managing Director, Taylor-Jayne Fox-Business Development Manager, Debbie Salmon-HSE Manager, Lee Schofield-Machine Shop Manager, Scott Gizon- Welder/Fabricator and Andy Hudson-Lasers and Robotics, and we are now looking to increase our number of Ambassadors to 10 to include our apprentices.

Being a STEM Ambassador has benefits not only for the young people involved but also for the ambassadors themselves. They have the opportunity to get a fresh new perspective of work on a whole, by looking at it from the eyes of a student, and facing different challenges from their everyday work, and gaining that sense of achievement. It also allows young people to understand the particular career of an “Ambassador”, and allows them to have fun and enjoy working with young people, helping the make a difference across Lancashire, and be that life changing role model.
To get a real perspective on how becoming a STEM Ambassador can change your perspective on work, Debbie Salmon from the Graham team gave her personal view on the overall STEM experience.

“It is a thoroughly enjoyable experience, and it is fulfilling to talk to young people and give them an overview of engineering and seeing them getting excited about learning new things. This was particularly evident at the UTC in Burnley for the Flash Bang Science day, where a young student showed lots of enthusiasm and wasn’t afraid to be the leader, and was very positive and confident.”

“Having this position is a serious and important role. It requires us as Ambassadors to impart knowledge and information to students, and give them careers advice, to build on what students get from school and colleges and provide the real world experience of work. It’s a pleasurable and enjoyable experience to know that the young people who will soon be coming to work in businesses such as Graham Engineering are the right kind of people, and have not only the right skills but the correct attitude and the personality to fit into a business and get the job done.”

STEMFirst runs different events across Lancashire in different schools and colleges to get young people of all ages involved and aware of STEM. An example of this would be on the 15th of July Taylor-Jayne Fox, Scott Gizon and Andrew Hudson attended West Craven High School as part of an Apprenticeship and Careers event. Alongside that Debbie Salmon and Scott Gizon took part in the Burnley Primary School Engineering Event to take part in the Flash Bang Science Activity.  These are just some of the events there have previously taken place as part of the STEM Programme. There are also plans for work placements at Graham Engineering for students from the UTC at Burnley, to give them an understanding of what it is like to work at an engineering company like Graham’s.

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