How STEM Partnerships can change lives

How STEM Partnerships can change lives
Phili Alexander

How STEM Partnerships can change lives

Find out how our parternships with STEM Learning and Virgin Atlantic changed one girls life

Making a difference is something lots of businesses are keen to do and at Carbon60 we’re no different, we take pride in the fact that we help companies find the right talent for them, and candidates find rewarding careers.

But that’s just one (admittedly big) part of what we do. We’re also passionate about giving back to the world in which we do business and helping the next generation of STEM Talent. Sometimes, this passion – combined with a little help from our network of clients – can lead to amazing opportunities! It’s something we recently got to witness, and we thought we’d share the story with you.

Opening minds…

Our commitment to driving change is one of the reasons we have partnered with STEM Learning UK, an organisation that is dedicated to improving young people’s lives through the power of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths). They believe that great STEM education builds knowledge and skills that are vital for everyone.

Our partnership has led to our own internal army of STEM Ambassadors – volunteers that work with Schools, Collages and Communities to engage and influence the next generation of STEM talent – and last year, they spent time at Falinge Park High School in Rochdale, with a purpose to conduct mock interview sessions with students. We strongly believe that as experts in the world of recruitment, this is a great way for us to use our skills to help young people.

At one of these sessions, our Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, Chris Blackburn, got chatting with a Year 11 student called Crystal. She opened up about her ambition to become a pilot. Chris himself has a passion for aviation, while this is also one of the sectors we specialise in at Carbon60. Through this conversation, he brought the aviation industry to light and opened Crystal’s mind to the possibilities of an engineering career within it.

It was very easy to talk to Chris,” she said. “He’s very understanding and real. It was just me giving him my view on my future, and what I wanted to be, and he was just taking that in [and] giving suggestions.”


…and opening doors

Now, you might be aware of the need for more diversity within the aviation and engineering industries, and there’s a particular focus on attracting more women. For example, studies have shown that women engineers make up just 12.5% of the total UK tech workforce, while just 9% of engineers in the top career grade are women.

This is something that requires effort from all angles, and we’re fortunate to work with many clients who are committed to encouraging more women into the industry. One such client is Virgin Atlantic, the world-renowned airline whom we spoke to after realising the enthusiasm Crystal had for aviation. They very quickly agreed to give her a valuable work experience at Manchester Airport. Getting practical, on-the-job experience at this crucial stage of her life could have a huge impact on her career choices in a few years’ time.


A first-class work experience

The Head of Commercial & Supply Chain at Virgin Atlantic, Karl Howard-Norris, emphasised his company’s commitment to improving diversity in the industry, saying:

We will do all we can to encourage as many women into the industry as we can, to bridge that gender gap. Doing that through STEM activities, reaching out to local schools and working with our suppliers like Carbon60 is only the right thing to do.

We literally jumped at the chance [to help] Crystal and we knew our teams in Manchester would be more than happy to help.”

The work experience itself was fascinating for Crystal, giving her the chance to explore the mechanics of a plane and “understand how everything works.” Looking back at her favourite moment, she added:


It was when the plane left after we'd checked around it. When we sent it off, that was definitely the most memorable part. I'm very grateful for the STEM Ambassador Network and Carbon60 for coming together to give me this amazing opportunity.”


Collaborating to create change

This initiative highlights the importance of partnerships between STEM-focused organisations and companies like Virgin Atlantic. It's no secret that STEM education is key to driving innovation and economic growth for decades to come.


This gains even more importance when you consider that 43% of STEM vacancies were regarded as hard to fill due to skills shortages – yet the UK has a goal to be a ‘science and technology superpower’ by 2030.

The partnership between Carbon60 and STEM Learning can help young people gain insights, practical skills and exciting career opportunities. It’s not just about the benefits to the economy either – Initiatives like these can have a significant social impact too. Think about how many more ambitious young people like Crystal there are, looking for inspiration and for doors to be opened!

STEM Learning currently has over 7,000 strategic partners – ranging from SMEs to large corporations, professional membership groups to Higher Education institutions.  All partners have a role to play in influencing attitudes towards STEM and increasing the number of talented people employed within it.


We’ll leave the final word with Crystal:


It’s just amazing how they could make this happen and change someone’s life completely. It took a kid who had a big dream about flying and placed her into somewhere suitable.

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