Wider approach needed to encourage more female engineering apprentices

• Women who choose engineering tend to make career decisions later than male peers
• Initiatives should be broader and focus on young women 15-25
• Women with interests in creative crafts and arts should also be targeted
Many more young women could be interested in becoming engineering apprentices but for them to be “converted” to engineering, there needs to be more support and encouragement later in their school careers, according to new research from the Institution of Mechanical Engineering.
Over the past five years, the emphasis on attracting girls to technology and engineering has focused on activities to inspire at the last stages of primary and the first three years of secondary school.
However, the study “Never Too Late: Profiling Female Engineering Apprentices” suggests that there are a large number of girls who might select an engineering pathway post-16 if there were more initiatives to encourage them after leaving school.
The research found that there is a wider opportunity than previously expected to “engage” young women as they appear to make career decisions later than their male counterparts. It recommends that engineering careers initiatives should broaden their outreach to target young women aged 15 to 25.
Although women are under-represented in many STEM areas, this is particularly stark in engineering apprenticeships where just 8 percent of apprentices are female.
“Female engineering apprentices are something of a rarity but there is no evidence that they are a ‘breed apart’” said Peter Finegold, Head of Education at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and the lead author of the report.
“The UK school population may include many more young women who could be attracted to this career route, given the right opportunities.”
In addition to targeting a wider age range, programmes for attracting women to become engineering apprentices should broaden their approach to include those with interests in creative crafts and the arts.
Female apprentices have been shown to be more interested in these areas than their male peers and less likely to favour technology and “tinkering”.
The Institution-led study, which was also supported by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, surveyed current and newly qualified female and male apprentices as well as non-engineering apprentices to identify the characteristics of female apprentices. The aim is to provide input into the design of policies to increase the representation of women in engineering career pathways.
The report’s recommendations include:
• Employers, FE colleges and other organisations should broaden their targeting to include young women with interests in creative crafts and the arts.
• Engineering careers initiatives should develop programmes that target young women aged 15–25, since female engineering undergraduate and apprentices appear to make their career decisions later than their male counterparts.
• The engineering community should ensure that it offers practical support and advice to organisations who wish to promote the value of engineering apprenticeships in schools.
• EngineeringUK, along with its partners in the engineering community, should draw on the report’s findings as they work together to reposition the Tomorrow’s Engineers programme; specifically to act on the knowledge that women choosing routes into engineering careers tend to make this decision later, and that their hobbies and interests are less likely to be ‘tinkering’ and more likely to be linked to creative crafts and arts.
• STEM Learning Ltd should recruit a cadre of female engineering ambassadors who are trained to highlight specific messages about engineering apprenticeships, including:
• The creative problem-solving aspects of engineering.
• The suitability of engineering careers, even for those who have not harboured a longstanding interest in the subject.
• How the changing nature of engineering and technology will require future engineers with a variety of skills and interests.

New BP Ultimate STEM Challenge competition asks students: what would you reimagine?

This year the BP Ultimate STEM Challenge is back and it’s even better! For the first time, BP, in partnership with STEM Learning, is inviting UK students aged 11 to 14 to use their STEM skills to tackle one simple challenge: reimagine a solution to a real-life problem.

2018 marks the 50th anniversary of BP’s investment in STEM education – since 1968 BP has been helping young people to be more engaged in science and engineering by linking the curriculum to careers and inspiring students to take on the challenges of invention and creativity.

This year the Ultimate STEM Challenge is setting the ultimate challenge to reimagine literally anything using the technology and capability of today. This might be redesigning tools and technology that we have long taken for granted or reinventing something that really could change peoples’ lives for the better.

When developing the competition BP spoke to young people about the problems that they would like to solve and they came up with lots of ideas from the everyday to the extraordinary.
They wanted to improve access to building for wheelchair users, filter out air pollutants with new technology and even make sure everyone gets their fair share of pizza. Some of these ideas are captured in a new launch video which teachers and STEM Club leaders can use to inspire students to get involved and make their ultimate ideas, designs and solutions a reality.

There is also a presentation available with lots of tips and inspiration to encourage students to come up with ideas, introduce the competition and guide them through the process step-by-step.

Whether your idea helps solve a global problem or makes day-to-day life run a bit smoother for people, BP wants to see a variety of creative ideas and solutions from young people across the UK, so now is your chance to take part!

Ian Duffy, Head of UK Communications & Community Development for BP, said:
“At BP we are proud to be celebrating our 50th anniversary of investing in education in the UK. It’s initiatives like the Ultimate STEM Challenge which have a real impact on the attitudes of young people by raising their aspirations, inspiring them and connecting the dots between school and future STEM careers.

Having spoken to young people about what would inspire them when tasked with tackling a real-life problem, they said they wanted the opportunity to be creative, think outside the box and develop their own ideas. That’s why this year, we’re giving them one simple challenge to reimagine something that is relevant to them. The possibilities are endless and will engage students with many different strengths.”

Gill Collinson, Head of Centre & Partnerships at STEM Learning said:

“It’s great to see the Ultimate STEM Challenge is encouraging young people to use STEM to find a solution to a problem that they care about, be it a global issue or something which affects their everyday lives. Now in its fifth year, we’re especially excited to see the creative ideas that students come up with, whether big or small, the possibilities of using STEM to make the world a better place are endless.

“As with previous years, all participating schools can request a STEM Ambassador to support their STEM Club or class during the competition. Our community of over 50,000 volunteer Ambassadors can help to open up a world of opportunities for students by providing invaluable insight into the pathways from STEM study to exciting careers. We strongly encourage all participating schools to take advantage of this free-of-charge opportunity.”

After winning last year’s Ultimate STEM Challenge, Eve, part of the winning team, from Walton Priory School in Staffordshire said:

“The best part of our experience was designing and building the prototype to test in the stream. We knew we wanted to be practical and get our hands dirty, but we also loved presenting our project at the Final and meeting all the other competitors.”

Students can complete this challenge in a STEM Club, during a collapsed timetable day, in classroom lessons or in their own time.

The deadline for entries is 15 February 2019, with winners receiving a fun day out at the Science Museum in London for the grand final, £1000 to spend on science equipment or field trips, and Science Museum goody bags. All entries shortlisted for the semi-finals will receive a prestigious Bronze Crest Award.
For full details on the competition, access to STEM Ambassadors and to download the free Challenge resources, visit bp.com/ultimatestemchallenge

BACK TO SCHOOL GERMS – KEEPING YOUR CHILD HEALTHY

With children across Stockport now back at school for over a week, the chances are that many parents are already dealing with new-term bugs and sniffles.
And even though it is simple advice, one of the easiest ways to reduce the chances of your child and family picking up any germs is for everyone to practice good hand hygiene.
Councillor Tom McGee, Stockport Council’s Cabinet Member for Health, said: “As your children start school for the first time, or return to school, they’ll come into contact with new children, and therefore new germs.
“This can be even more prominent as the weather gets colder, when lots of coughs and colds start to circulate.
“One of the easiest ways to prevent the spread of infections is to sing the ’happy birthday’ song with children – but making washing hands fun, as I do with my grandchildren, is just as effective.”
Effective handwashing takes around 30 seconds from start to finish, using the following technique:

• Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), and apply soap.
• Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
• Rub your hands together for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
• Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
• Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them
It’s also important to remember to wash your hands:
•Before, during, and after preparing food
•Before eating food
•Before and after caring for someone who is sick
•Before and after treating a cut or wound
•After using the toilet
•After changing nappies or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
•After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
•After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
•After handling pet food or pet treats
•After touching household rubbish

BinaryBots and BLOODHOUND SSC get children revved up about technology

BinaryBots – which produces ‘smart toys’ to teach children to code – has agreed a deal with The BLOODHOUND Project to produce a replica of its SuperSonic Car (SSC) in advance of its land speed record attempt.

The Cardboard2Code JetCar™ Bloodhound kit allows children to build a replica of the fastest car on the planet and use computer coding to move it around. Chris Burgess, CEO of BinaryBots, says the company hopes its latest product will bring staggering possibilities of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to life for children.

“The BLOODHOUND Project is the modern equivalent of the Apollo Moon Landings,” said Chris. “Together, we are on a crusade to inspire and engage every child in STEM and robotics. STEM should be fun and what illustrates that better than a really fast car!”

The BLOODHOUND SSC aims to set a new land speed record of 1,000 mph and is the product of British talent and innovation, with sponsors and contributors including Rolls-Royce and the RAF.

 

Richard Noble, CEO of The BLOODHOUND Project, added: “We’re delighted to announce a partnership with BinaryBots, the innovative robots you can build and code. They’ve even created a limited edition JetCar™ that children as young as 7 can programme using a BBC micro:bit controller. This partnership complements the Project’s aims of inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers.”

Whilst BLOODHOUND SSC is the most complicated car ever built, children will build their own Bloodhound JetCar™ out of flat pack cardboard. They can decorate it with the official BLOODHOUND stickers or customise it themselves. Using a BBC micro:bit, which is included in the pack, they learn how to use code to programme their car to do all kinds of cool tricks; including obstacle avoidance, using LEDs and even speed runs.

Chris Burgess added: “At its top speed, BLOODHOUND SSC will be faster than a speeding bullet, so it should give Superman a run for his money. And once children have got the hang of coding, they’ll certainly feel like Superpeople as well.”

The BinaryBots JetCar™ Bloodhound SSC edition, priced £49.99, is available for pre-order now from https://www.binarybots.tech/bloodhoundssc

London Grid for Learning (LGfL) drives UK’s largest rollout of anti-malware software for schools

The London Grid for Learning (LGfL) is proud to announce it is now driving what we hope will be the UK’s largest rollout of anti-malware software for schools. The not-for-profit trust which provides high-speed uncontended broadband and associated services to schools, has signed a deal with anti-malware provider Malwarebytes which will see all schools on LGfL’s nationwide network provided with the software at no additional cost. The rollout will see schools further protected against the increasing threat of malware – software which is specifically designed to disrupt, damage, or gain authorized access to a computer system.

Founded in 2006, Malwarebytes provides anti-malware software for Microsoft Windows, macOS and Android that finds and removes malware. Unlike traditional anti-virus software which relies on out-dated signature-based technology to address threats at the execution stage of the attack chain, Malwarebytes employs several proprietary technologies that work together to break the attack chain, from pre-delivery to post-execution.

This deal marks the latest in LGfL’s initiatives to protect schools from the threat of cyber-attacks. Following the WannaCry malware attack which caused disruption to the NHS as well as businesses across the globe, LGfL provided Sophos Intercept X software to its schools free of charge. Since then the Trust has rolled out its new centre of excellence for cyber security CyberProtect to offer reassurance and guidance to schools on how to help protect themselves against similar cyberthreats.

John Jackson, CEO, London Grid for Learning commented, “I’m delighted that LGfL and Malwarebytes have signed this fantastic deal for London and our schools across the UK. Our shared passion for keeping children safe means we have committed to saving schools lots of money as well as enabling our education community to benefit from comprehensive security protection. I’d also like to thank our new LGfL aggregated purchase SmartBuy team who made this happen”.

University of Exeter to save over £10 million in new partnership with TechnologyOne

The University’s Future Finance programme is targeted to deliver £1.3 million a year in savings, all of which will be reinvested into frontline academic services.

 The University of Exeter, a notable research specialist and member of the Russell Group, has signed a new eight-year deal with TechnologyOne, implementing the vendor’s OneUniversity Software as a Service (SaaS) solution to transform financial services and save millions per year.

The implementation underpins the university’s ambitious Future Finance programme, aimed at uniting and improving the finance function. TechnologyOne was selected as the University’s preferred technology partner, following a competitive tender which included suppliers such as Oracle and Unit4. The OneUniversity solution, which includes Research Finance Management and Financials, delivers on the University of Exeter’s mission to increase efficiency, improve quality of service and harness SaaS technologies.

Andrew Connolly, Chief Financial Officer at the University of Exeter, comments: “TechnologyOne’s superior functionality, and user look and feel, provide the best fit to our own ambitions to transform our finance function. Working in the most efficient way, we can now deliver quality and timely information, insight and advice to colleagues to empower them in their roles, meeting the University’s transformational plan needs for the next decade.”

With over 60 integrations with existing systems, the solution is already delivering significant back-office time savings for the finance team, as well as academics, business managers and researchers. The Future Finance programme is on track to deliver £1.3 million a year in recurrent staff savings, all of which will be reinvested into frontline academic services.
Anwen Robinson, Operating Officer UK at TechnologyOne said: “Universities today face a multitude of challenges, from improving efficiencies to enhancing the quality of service and preparing for the future.

“We’re delighted that our long-term partnership with the University of Exeter and our true SaaS solutions will help them address these challenges and drive transformative working practices.”
The new system provides access to real-time information on the status of grants, budgets, expenses, forecasts and budgeting, as well as an end-to-end view of financial research grants – something that was not possible with the legacy solution.

With TechnologyOne’s Ci Anywhere functionality, the University’s core finance and research finance systems are available on any mobile device, with a secure and consistent user interface.
Jo Smith, Future Finance Project Manager at the University of Exeter added: “It was important to us that the new system offered our staff a good user experience and wouldn’t require extra training.
“We believe that Exeter chose the right product in OneUniversity; not only is it right for our users but TechnologyOne is the right company for us to partner with because of their proven track record in innovating and creating outstanding products.”

Teachers top resolutions are to achieve work-life balance and not work evenings and weekends

You won’t be hearing ‘Auld Lang Syne’ or the sound of fireworks, but teachers across the country are ringing in the New Year, with a poll revealing 87% of 3,470 educators see September as the new year rather than January.

Research conducted by the online educational publisher Twinkl also reveals the top new year’s resolutions of UK teachers, with achieving a work-life balance coming out as the most popular, followed by not working evenings and weekends.

Other new year’s resolutions included being more organised, sticking work into books before leaving school, going to more places with family and, in keeping with typical January resolutions, doing more exercise.

More unusual resolutions such as not using glitter in the classroom, getting messy and smiling more were also included on the list.

Jonathan Seaton, CEO and Founder of Twinkl, said: “It isn’t surprising that teachers see September as the New Year and the time to make a fresh start. But it is concerning that the top resolutions are centred around workload as teachers continue to strive to achieve a work-life balance.

“The results are interesting for Twinkl as the company exists to help those who teach and we strive to improve the lives of educators wherever possible.”

The idea for Twinkl came when Jon’s wife, Susie, was having to spend her evenings and weekends making resources for her job as a primary school teacher. Founded in 2010, Twinkl is now home to over 500,000 resources that teachers can download and adapt to support their lessons.

“Twinkl was created to plug that gap and provide teachers with high-quality resources that they could trust,” explained Jon.

“It’s worrying that teachers are still finding the work-life balance their biggest challenge and begs the question of what else needs to be done.

“We know that Twinkl is making a difference to teacher’s lives, with a recent open survey finding 97 per cent of our customers agree that using Twinkl improves their work-life balance, but there is still a lot more to do.

“Twinkl will be working hard over the next year and continuing to engage with the teaching community to find other ways we can support teachers. Through this we can continue to understand what challenges teachers are facing, what their aspirations are and how we can help, all key resolutions for us for the new year ahead.”

Why Twinkl is asking schools to get behind BBC Children in Need in 2018

The online educational publisher Twinkl is partnering with BBC Children in Need this year to support schools to raise as much money as possible for disadvantaged children and young people.

As Proud Schools Partner Twinkl will be providing free resources and sending materials to schools to help with fundraising, as well as doing plenty at its HQ in Sheffield. Schools can sign up for a free fundraising pack full of inspiring ideas via bbcchildreninneed.co.uk/schools.

BBC Children in Need is currently funding over 2,700 projects in communities across the UK which aim to support children and young people facing a range of disadvantages such as living in poverty, being disabled or ill, or experiencing distress, neglect or trauma.

One of them is Louis, aged eight, from Kingston Upon Hull, whose life was transformed when he was introduced to his support dog Iggy last year.

Louis is on the autism spectrum and has global development delay; his prognosis means he excels in some areas including numeracy and learning languages, whilst experiencing challenges in others such as balance, co-ordination and social skills.

Louis’ condition has meant he experiences difficulties in understanding everyday dangers and has found busy places or events challenging whilst having trouble sleeping and being reliant on his wheelchair when leaving the house.

However, this all changed when Louis was introduced to golden retriever, Iggy, Louis’ support dog. Since Iggy arrived things have improved remarkably. Louis has not needed to use his wheelchair once and can visit places he would not have been able to previously. Louis also sleeps well during the night, all because he has Iggy by his side to provide comfort and reassurance. Walking with Iggy helps Louis with his balance and now the pair go everywhere together, including to school.

“Having Iggy has had a huge impact on Louis socially too”, said Louis’ mum Kelly.

“Everyone loves seeing Iggy in the playground and out and about. Children that may not have normally come up to speak to Louis have come to ask him about Iggy. This has really helped Louis improve his social skills and interaction with his peers.

“Having Iggy there also raises awareness with the other children that we are all different and that some people need help, which comes in all different forms. For Louis this just happens to be through Iggy.”

The funding for Iggy was provided by BBC Children in Need through a grant given to national charity Support Dogs.

“Stories like Louis’ show the huge impact that the projects BBC Children in Need works with have on people’s lives,” said Jonathan Seaton, Founder and CEO of Twinkl.

“As the Proud Schools Partner of BBC Children in Need we want to help educators and students in any way we can to raise money to continue this work. We know schools are incredibly busy as the new year begins, but we want people to know that we have fundraising resources online now and loads more coming soon.”

BBC Children in Need is funding an experienced training instructor at Support Dogs until 2020. Support Dogs is dedicated to increasing independence and quality of life for people with various medical conditions by providing, training and supporting assistance dogs.

“Support Dogs is a fantastic charity. A lot of work goes into finding and training the right dog for each person and making sure everything runs as smoothly as possible,” said Kelly.

“It was amazing to see how quickly Louis and Iggy began working together and how much care and support they gave one another.”

“We are so thankful to Support Dogs for Iggy and BBC Children in Need for making it possible. We wanted to share our story to raise awareness of just how much these charities help children and their families. We hope lots of people and schools will get behind BBC Children in Need once again to raise money, which really does make a difference in so many different ways.”

Commenting on the new schools fundraising campaign, Claire Hoyle, Commercial Director of BBC Children in Need, said: “This year we hope more schools and nurseries are encouraged to get on board and help raise funds for BBC Children in Need. Louis’ and Iggy’s story is a fantastic example of how the public’s generous donations go on to make an enormous difference to the lives of children and young people around the UK.”

Danny Anderson, Fundraising Manager at Support Dogs, said: “The support given by BBC Children in Need to smaller charities like Support Dogs is just so, so important. Our work is unique and truly life changing, not just to the children we help but to their wider families too. Every donation made and time volunteered to support the BBC Children in Need appeal really makes a massive difference to the ability of charities like ours to run projects like this and improve the lives of many more families like Louis’. Please do consider getting your school involved in this year’s appeal.”

University of Exeter to save over £10 million in new partnership with TechnologyOne

The University’s Future Finance programme is targeted to deliver £1.3 million a year in savings, all of which will be reinvested into frontline academic services.

03 September 2018 – The University of Exeter, a notable research specialist and member of the Russell Group, has signed a new eight-year deal with TechnologyOne, implementing the vendor’s OneUniversity Software as a Service (SaaS) solution to transform financial services and save millions per year.

The implementation underpins the university’s ambitious Future Finance programme, aimed at uniting and improving the finance function. TechnologyOne was selected as the University’s preferred technology partner, following a competitive tender which included suppliers such as Oracle and Unit4. The OneUniversity solution, which includes Research Finance Management and Financials, delivers on the University of Exeter’s mission to increase efficiency, improve quality of service and harness SaaS technologies.

Andrew Connolly, Chief Financial Officer at the University of Exeter, comments: “TechnologyOne’s superior functionality, and user look and feel, provide the best fit to our own ambitions to transform our finance function. Working in the most efficient way, we can now deliver quality and timely information, insight and advice to colleagues to empower them in their roles, meeting the University’s transformational plan needs for the next decade.”

With over 60 integrations with existing systems, the solution is already delivering significant back-office time savings for the finance team, as well as academics, business managers and researchers. The Future Finance programme is on track to deliver £1.3 million a year in recurrent staff savings, all of which will be reinvested into frontline academic services.
Anwen Robinson, Operating Officer UK at TechnologyOne said: “Universities today face a multitude of challenges, from improving efficiencies to enhancing the quality of service and preparing for the future.

“We’re delighted that our long-term partnership with the University of Exeter and our true SaaS solutions will help them address these challenges and drive transformative working practices.”
The new system provides access to real-time information on the status of grants, budgets, expenses, forecasts and budgeting, as well as an end-to-end view of financial research grants – something that was not possible with the legacy solution.

With TechnologyOne’s Ci Anywhere functionality, the University’s core finance and research finance systems are available on any mobile device, with a secure and consistent user interface.
Jo Smith, Future Finance Project Manager at the University of Exeter added: “It was important to us that the new system offered our staff a good user experience and wouldn’t require extra training.
“We believe that Exeter chose the right product in OneUniversity; not only is it right for our users but TechnologyOne is the right company for us to partner with because of their proven track record in innovating and creating outstanding products.”

NEO LMS wins the 2018 Tech Edvocate Award for Best Learning Management System

NEO, the learning management system (LMS) for schools and universities created by CYPHER LEARNING, has been announced as the winner of the Tech Edvocate Award for “Best Learning Management System”, for a second year running.

The Tech Edvocate Awards honor the best that edtech has to offer by recognizing outstanding companies, people, and products. The awards process included a judging panel who assessed this year’s top edtech organisations and resources, followed by an online voting system, allowing people to nominate their favorite products. The judging panel was made up of edtech influencers, PreK-12 teachers and parents, college as well as K-12 professors and administrators.

NEO is a world-class learning management system (LMS) for schools and universities, a powerful platform that delivers a great user experience, while incorporating all the essential tools schools and universities need to support efficient teaching and learning.

NEO provides an indispensable set of features including content authoring, competency-based learning, gamification, automation, learning paths, adaptive learning, and integrations with most popular third-party systems.

Graham Glass, CEO of CYPHER LEARNING said: “We are delighted to win ‘Best LMS’ for the second year in a row. We are constantly updating and developing our product in order to meet the needs of schools and universities and ensure we’re making teaching and learning as efficient as possible. We’re so grateful to be recognised for our efforts; it’s a reflection of how much our product has grown, becoming one of the leading learning management systems on the market.”

NEO was also recently selected as a finalist for the EdTech Awards in the category “Learning management system (LMS) solution”. The annual program shines a spotlight on cool tools, inspiring leaders and innovative trendsetters across the K-12, Higher Education, and Skills and Workforce sectors.