BP mentors embark on a 10 week STEM project with local schools

Operating in below zero temperatures, drilling in deserts or exploring in thorny terrains are daily challenges for some of BP’s employees, which is why we challenged local students to develop equipment that could help our teams stay safe in extreme temperatures

Go4SET is a 10 week STEM programme, for 12-14 year olds, run in partnership with the Engineering Development Trust. The UK needs to increase the number of pupils pursuing careers in Science, Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM) and the GO4SET programme gives businesses like BP a chance to inspire and inform students about career choices at a key stage in their education.

Research has also shown that when younger children are exposed to STEM related employers then they are more likely to choose post-16 courses in these subject areas, eventually leading to the study of STEM degrees at university.

BP have actively supported the GO4SET programme since 2006, providing students with real-life projects designed to inspire them and to give them a taste of what it is like to work in the energy sector.  It’s  a perfect opportunity for BP to contribute to developing the talent of the future and at the same time  build sustainable relationships within the local community.  

“Go4SET provides the opportunity to investigate real industrial issues & to develop innovative solutions. These skills are important to BP as a company, & to the energy sector as a whole”
Ian Duffy, BP Head of UK communications and community development

This year 50 young people from local schools will join BP’s Go4Set project ‘Challenging environments.’ EDT coordinator, Matt Fox, introduced the students to the topic they would work on for the next 10 weeks. The challenge is to develop innovative equipment to help protect BP staff working in extreme environments such as the desert or on a rig in the North Sea.

In their welcome session the students were allocated a BP mentor who will provide them with the real-world context they need, they will also support and challenge the teams, guiding them through to the completion of the project. The mentors will provide face-to-face support to students, as well as on-going support via email and calls. They will encourage the teams to work together, help them with communication skills and provide expert advice to help them come up with innovative ideas.

More than fifteen mentors from across a variety of disciplines at the ICBT are volunteering their time to support this initiative, working with eight local schools around the Sunbury area. Mentors are key to BP’s success in promoting STEM uptake among young people. For BP, mentoring also has the added advantage of helping staff develop their skills in decision making, leadership and communications.

“I left feeling inspired today and look forward to working with my team and mentor to develop a winning project!”
Student from Heston community school

In April BP will host a STEM Festival in Sunbury to celebrate the student’s achievements. The children will get the opportunity to showcase their projects to BP staff as well as their families. They will also present their designs and explain how they tackled their challenge to a panel of BP judges. The finale of the day will be an awards ceremony for the best three projects. In addition all students that complete the challenge will be awarded two separate nationally recognised awards, the CREST award and the Industrial Cadet Award, both of which are highly prized by employers on the CVs of new recruits.

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