Students explore STEM career opportunities

Students from six schools recently attended Leeds Beckett University’s engineering facilities to undertake a series of workshops to explore some lesser-known career opportunities in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths).

As part of Go Higher West Yorkshire (GHWY) Uni Connect’s Go Higher in… STEM event, delivered in partnership with West Yorkshire Combined Authority, our students were joined by academics, industry experts and student ambassadors to perform practical experiments as ice-breakers and as an introduction to the subject.

Taking on challenges such as wind walkers, bacteria match, the debate wall and giant Jenga, students engaged with those around them and started asking questions before the formal introduction from GHWY Outreach Officer Rob Goodswen. He highlighted the importance of the day and encouraged students to carry on asking lots of questions.

During a Quantity Surveying workshop with academics from Leeds Beckett University, students used industry standard equipment to measure room dimensions using lasers. Dressed in hi-vis and hardhats, students took a hands-on approach to solve the problems presented to them and asked questions to gain an insight into this area of STEM.  

There was also a problem-solving approach to a Building Bridges workshop, with academics from Kirklees College. This saw students compete to build the strongest bridge. After a crash course in elements of the engineering process, including Computer Aided Design (CAD) and material testing, students put this knowledge to the test and built some fantastic bridges. These were put to the test to find the strongest, with the team responsible for the sturdiest being crowned winners.

Understanding the foundations of an area was used during an Economics session with a PhD student from the University of Leeds. The workshop looked into the external factors that can impact financial decisions within a business, with learners being set a Market Simulation Challenge. To support students’ understanding of how theory relates to industry, an apprentice from National Rail joined the session to share their experiences of working within STEM and to answer students’ questions. 

The event was rounded up with a recap of what students had done that day, the importance of STEM jobs, and the vast availability of careers in this industry within West Yorkshire.  

Not only did learners gain a plethora of new information around the STEM industry but they also got to experience first-hand what it is like to work within the industry. This allowed them to aspire to careers and future study within this often highly demanding sector. 


Rebecca King, GHWY Outreach Officer, University of Huddersfield