News

03rd July 2020

Partnership aims to drive uptake of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects when local secondary schools reopen.

Pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim announces a new partnership with STEM Learning, the UK’s largest provider of education and careers support in STEM, to support schools across Berkshire in nurturing talent and securing greater levels of participation in STEM subjects into further education.

Following significant disruption to children’s education as a result of COVID-19, and with the spotlight firmly on the role of science in society, Bracknell-based Boehringer Ingelheim is developing a bespoke programme with STEM Learning to encourage more young people to explore STEM subjects and careers. Comprised of nine initiatives, the programme will focus on supporting year nine students, as evidence shows this is a pivotal stage for students’ academic and career progression. Nine schools will benefit from the programme, namely:

  • The Bulmershe School, Wokingham
  • Garth Hill College, Bracknell
  • Bohunt School, Wokingham
  • Easthampstead Park Community School, Bracknell
  • St Crispin’s School, Wokingham
  • The Emmbrook School, Wokingham
  • The Forest School, Winnersh
  • The Green Room School, Windsor
  • The Holt School, Wokingham

The importance of equipping the next generation with STEM skills has never been more apparent. The STEM skills shortage in the UK is estimated to cost the STEM sector £1.5 billion, with nearly three quarters of British businesses facing difficulties in hiring staff with STEM skill sets. Boehringer Ingelheim is playing its part to address this critical skills gap, and will be working with students, teachers and parents to increase their understanding of the diverse range of STEM roles available. Notably, the programme will engage mainstream and SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) schools to inspire all young people to achieve their best results in STEM subjects.

Initiatives for students will include a careers lab to support them in developing key skills required in the STEM sector, opportunities to connect and share their aspirations with mentors within the industry, and extra-curricular clubs including interactive activities and competitions. Professional development workshops and an immersive industry experience day will be organised for teachers, and parents will be offered the opportunity to attend tailor- made sessions to help them understand the importance of STEM subjects and build their children’s confidence in this area.

Nearly 30% of jobs in Berkshire are in the STEM sector and, through these activities, Boehringer Ingelheim aims to nurture students’ educational development and support the local talent pool.

Uday Bose, Country Managing Director for UK and Ireland at Boehringer Ingelheim, commented: “As a family-owned company, we always have one eye on the next generation. We are delighted to announce our partnership with STEM Learning to support young people, teachers and schools in championing STEM education. Sustainability is one of our core values as a business, and we are planning for the long term by supporting initiatives that will inspire more students to pursue STEM subjects into further education to deliver against unmet needs in our sector and beyond.

“In the UK, and closer to home in Berkshire, there is a diverse range of amazing opportunities and careers available in the STEM sector for young people. We believe it is crucial that schools and employers work together to explore these possibilities and motivate students, so we can support their development and help them make informed decisions about their future. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this initiative helped to develop the next Stephen Hawking or Rosalind Franklin!”

Dr Ajay Sharman, Regional Network Lead, South East at STEM Learning UK, commented: “Supported by our partners, our vision is to achieve a world-leading STEM education for all young people across the UK.

“We know that increasing time pressures, a lack of resources and teachers’ own confidence can present barriers to engaging students in STEM, preventing them from realising their true potential. The partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim will enable us to provide teachers with a range of valuable resources and tools to draw upon in their teaching, which will make a real difference to both students’ and teachers’ experiences of STEM education.”

Michelle Grant, STEM Lead Practitioner, commented: “Our mission through this partnership is to empower and inspire teachers and students in Berkshire by letting them really explore this diverse and progressive sector through hands-on STEM experiences and interactions with industry.

“It has been a pleasure collaborating with Boehringer Ingelheim as they have consulted with us every step of the way to provide tailored solutions to address each school’s needs, so that every student will have the opportunity to be involved in STEM in a meaningful way. We look forward to growing this exciting partnership and supporting local students, parents and teachers in their learning and development.”

Alison Webster, Chief Executive at Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership, added: “Compared to the rest of the UK, Berkshire has a higher than average concentration of companies in life sciences and healthcare. Our area also has a younger population and labour market compared to the UK average, and there are greater volumes of young people entering the job market over the next five years.

“With the STEM sector making a significant contribution to our local economy we can see that there is a perfect opportunity presented for our young people and we fully support Boehringer Ingelheim and STEM Learning’s partnership to enrich student’s learning in this area.”

Through this partnership, Boehringer Ingelheim will also be joining the ENTHUSE Alliance, a ground-breaking collaboration of government, charitable trusts, STEM employers, professional institutions and scientific societies, all showing their support for teachers of STEM subjects.