It’s British Science Week, a celebration of all things science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). What a good time to speak to some of Jackson’s STEM Ambassadors.
There are currently 14 registered STEM Ambassadors working across Jackson, who volunteer their time to engage with schools and colleges, and to give students an insight into what it is like to work in civil engineering.
They include Josh Finbow, a Regional Engineer who is currently working on a project supporting the construction of the HS2 high-speed rail scheme. In the past, Josh has attended school visits and careers fairs, and has been involved with the Institution of Civil Engineers talking to young people about the sector.
“This is hugely important because many young people don’t understand what civil engineers do,” says Josh, who makes sure he talks about the entire range of opportunities available. “I talk about engineers, but also about other roles within our industry, such as clients, consultants, designers, sub-contractors and supply chain,” he adds.
No-one has embraced the STEM Ambassador role in Jackson more than Prince Sithole, who says: “I love civil engineering - I do not see my role as a job but more as a vocation.” He works as a Regional Engineer based within the Highways Division on the M25 and has impressed so much with his outreach work that he was recently invited to sit on the Industrial Advisory Board at Kingston University in southwest London.
“There are many misconceptions about what civil engineers actually do but once students get an insight from qualified engineers they realise the relevance and importance of civil engineers,” adds Prince, whose enthusiasm for STEM has motivated a number of his colleagues to also sign up to become Ambassadors.
They include industrial placement Engineer Monica Chadran who has given a careers experience talk to students at the University of West London. “STEM Ambassadors can help young people push their life onto the next level,” she says.
Even over the past year when Covid-19 restrictions prevented school visits in person, Jackson’s STEM Ambassadors have been able to use video and multimedia to deliver socially-distanced events.
Jackson’s Head of Training and HR Claire Chattenton has been involved in careers advice days, CV writing surgeries, and problem solving and bridge building workshops. “Each of our STEM activities are adapted to suit the school and or age range of the students to make sure we can get engagement,” says Claire.
In Jackson’s Northern Division, Project Manager Darren Blank has recently signed up as a STEM Ambassador and is set to start working with Rotherham Council as part of Jackson’s Social Value commitments. It’s a role Darren believes can have an important impact on a young person. He adds: “I have always been interested in science and engineering, and actively enjoy sharing that enthusiasm, especially if I can illustrate engineering problems and solutions in a visual and understandable way. I know I would have benefitted from just that kind of insight and knowledge in my youth.”British Science Week runs from 6 to 15 March 2021.