The organisations working to rejuvenate Addlestone town centre have launched a competition to help the borough’s school pupils put their science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills to the test.
The ‘B-Involved STEM Challenge’ is a bespoke competition designed by construction company, Bouygues UK – combining research into environmental and sustainability practices with a first-hand insight into how things work on a live building site.
Runnymede Borough Council has been working closely with Bouygues Development, part of the Bouygues UK group, to create Addlestone One; a thriving new town centre scheme that will integrate a complimentary mix of new homes, new public spaces, restaurants, cafes, retail, hotel, leisure and a cinema into the existing town centre, responding to the needs of the community and rejuvenating the area.
Over the next eight weeks, five teams of young people, representing Fullbrook, Jubilee High and Magna Carta schools, will be tasked with researching and recommending a range of sustainability designs and processes, for either a hotel or supermarket based at the Addlestone One development.
MP for Runnymede and Weybridge, Phillip Hammond said: “The launch of this year’s B-Involved STEM Challenge will give Runnymede young people the chance not only to build on their current academic skills, but also to develop real-life solutions for engineering and construction projects.
I am a big supporter of science, technology, engineering and maths subjects in schools. For too long, the take up of these subjects has been too low. However, I am glad there are now a number of initiatives and events, such as this one, which I hope will inspire more young people, particularly girls – who have long been under-represented, to look for jobs in these industries.
The Government funds the Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering’s STEM Diversity programmes, which are making headway in attracting people to these careers.
The ‘Your Life’ campaign is also bringing together government, businesses and other institutions to inspire young people into getting jobs in these sectors. Over the past year, more funding has been announced so companies can set up training programmes to develop future engineers and particularly to boost the number of women in the profession. I wish all participants the very best of luck with this challenge!”
A Bouygues UK spokesperson, added: “If you speak to anyone that works in the industry – engineers, builders, designers – we’ve all got one thing in common: we’re hugely passionate about what we do. And it’s our job to show young people why we’re so passionate about construction and what makes it so interesting. The STEM Challenge is our way of giving students a real flavour of how things actually work on site and some of the complex issues that we have to consider before we can make their homes, schools and all the other buildings that they see every day, come to life.
“It also helps students to see the connection between what they are learning in the classroom and how those science, engineering, maths and technology skills can be put to practical use when it comes to their future careers.”
Runnymede Borough Councils Chief Executive Paul Turrell said: “It was refreshing to see how enthusiastic and excited Runnymede young people were at the launch of the STEM Challenge. We are proud to be working with Bouygues UK and SATRO to deliver an accredited experience which will help young local people in Runnymede enhance their employability skills whilst taking an active role in the rejuvenation of Addlestone. I look forward to seeing how the young people progress throughout the competition.”
Surrey-based educational charity, SATRO, is running this year’s STEM Challenge, in partnership with Bouygues UK and Runnymede Borough Council, and supported by the Runnymede Business Partnership.
The British Science Association CREST Awards is also working with SATRO to deliver an accredited experience; meaning the students will boost their employability skills as well as gain an insight into the UK construction industry and the many rewarding careers it has to offer.
Each team will be supported by an industrial mentor from either Bouygues UK, BAM Construction Ltd, Crest Nicholson or Thorpe Park. The teams will present their recommendations at a grand finale in March.