Dr Diane Turner: Outreach at Sawston Village College

Part of our mission is outreach; bringing STEM to children. In the past this has involved taking meteorites to pre-schools, hosting work experience students and taking scientific instrument parts to high schools.

There are 8 ‘Gatsby Benchmarks’ which when met optimise success after completing secondary education and 3 of these particularly resonate with us, namely: experiences of workplaces, personal guidance and having encounters with employers and employees and experiences of workplaces. ‘Research from the Education and Employers Taskforce shows that a young person who has four or more meaningful encounters with an employer is 86% less likely to be unemployed or not in education or training and can earn up to 22% more during their career.’

Diane often works with Form the Future to enhance schools’ careers programmes by sharing her personal experiences and professional journey along with interesting analytical chemistry with local students. Last week she attended Sawston Village College for a ‘What’s My Line?’ event, in which she brought in authentic analytical chemistry instrument parts for the students to handle and without introduction answered their 20 questions about her line of work. It was then up to the students to guess what her role is. They guessed ‘something to do with chromatography’. This lead to a discussion about the different areas of Chemistry including Analytical, Organic etc. The year 8 pupils thoroughly enjoyed this and were engaged and inspired, contributing excitedly to the event.

We plan to attend more of these events for ‘Form the Future’ in 2024, and urge other professionals to have a look into similar outreach events local to them, as it really is very rewarding!