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BP celebrates 50 years supporting education in the UK

At BP we are proud to be celebrating our 50th anniversary of investing in education in the UK. As one of the UK’s leading supporters of STEM education (science, technology, engineering and maths), BP has developed an extensive and varied programme of investment that has a real impact on the attitudes of young people by raising their aspirations, inspiring them and connecting the dots between school and future careers

In 2017 BP Educational Service teaching resources reached over 1.4 million students, our volunteers worked with nearly 10,000 local students and BP supported the continued professional development (CPD) of over 16,000 science teachers and technicians.


A trip to the BP Archive and a look at artefacts from the past 50 years shows that since BP created its ‘Working Party’ on education in 1968, style and haircuts may have changed but the challenges in connecting education and business remain very similar and very real. BP recognised the need to bring these two intrinsically different environments together and took real-world context into the classroom to encourage more young people to take up a career in STEM.


In 2018 young people still need that same support and guidance from organisations willing to take a step beyond their own doorstep and that recognise the part they can play in inspiring and shaping the future workforce.


Whilst the challenges remain similar, we all know that the world we live in is changing rapidly! Technology is developing all the time, changing the way we work, learn and communicate and shaping the jobs of the future in ways we cannot accurately predict. In this fast-moving environment, businesses like BP must continue to communicate with young people, help them to see their future careers in industry and develop the skills they need at a time in their life when there are plenty of other distractions.


I love volunteering with Schools Link – when the kids get it their eyes light up and it makes it feel worthwhile.Volunteer,BP


Challenge to Youth

Challenge to Youth was BP’s flagship education programme for almost two decades. Launched in 1968 this was a national competition run in partnership with The Daily Mail aimed at getting young people involved in hands on projects such as “build a hovercraft” or “build a motorbike”.  The simplicity of the challenge brought out the creativity of the students and developed their technical skills.

The Ultimate STEM Challenge

Today we run the Ultimate STEM Challenge in association with STEM Learning and the Science Museum. Tackling the challenges that we face as a society, students demonstrate their investigations into topics such as efficiency, sustainability and resource consumption. This year students will be challenged to re-invent the future by redesigning tools and technology that we have long taken for granted. Find out more about the Ultimate STEM Challenge 2018-19.


This has really, fuelled my love for science and whatnot. I didn’t think I’d be that into it but I really enjoyed doing it.Student,Colyton Grammar School


Taking STEM beyond the classroom, building connections between theory and practice, and encouraging creativity and innovation are at the heart of inspiring young people to take on STEM careers.

An Ultimate STEM Challenge presentation
Students watching virtual reality presentation
BP Ultimate STEM Challenge winners 2018

Our pioneering Schools Link programme has its roots in 1968 as a small initiative championed by BP Chemicals linking our volunteers with local schools in Hull. This soon spread through BP Chemicals to East London and Scotland and now BP volunteers interact annually with nearly 10,000 students in over 100 schools in the UK. Our volunteers channel their enthusiasm and knowledge into creating and delivering hands-on workshops and inspirational experiences giving young people information and, most importantly, choices. The energy and passion of our volunteers keeps our Schools Link programme fresh and relevant helping us lead the way in creating effective ways to engage young people in an ever-evolving society.


We value the BP link, the partnership has already had a significant impact upon our STEM outcomes as a school.Head teacher,Langtree School


BP is one of the leading corporate providers of teaching resources to STEM teachers. The BP Educational Service has been a core part of our education strategy since 1972 and has evolved into a market-leading set of online teaching resources used by over 1.4 million students and 80,000 registered teachers in 57% of secondary schools in the UK. Our innovative, curriculum-linked resources are created to help teachers integrate ‘real world context’ directly into their lessons. Videos, animations, posters and worksheets present students with information in an interesting and inspiring way. 75% of teachers tell us that they are engaging for students who are not usually interested in science – a real win for teachers, for the future of the UK economy and for BP!


This year BP has announced the renewal of our partnership with the Science Museum through the creation of a ground-breaking Academy of Science Engagement. We are actively supporting the government’s Year of Engineering 2018 campaign with activities at all our major UK sites and a new set of engineering-based teaching resources from the BP Educational Service.


The 50-year anniversary is a chance for our volunteers and our leaders to reflect on how far we have come, how consistently the education strategy has been embedded in BP, and how much it is a part of what we believe in and do, as individuals and as a business. In a changing world our education programmes are something we can be proud of and – this year especially – celebrate!

50 years of supporting STEM education