Professor Brian Cox inspires the next generation at the Science Summer School 2019

Professor Brian Cox poses with students from Lathom High School and Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Engineering College at the Science Summer School 2019

Over 400 young people from over 50 schools across the UK have attended the Science Summer School 2019 in London, an innovative event aimed at inspiring the next generation of Britain’s scientists and encouraging them to think about a career in the UK’s Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths (STEAM) industries.

The Science Summer School 2019 was designed to excite and invigorate the younger generation, giving them the opportunity to hear inspirational speakers and engage in seminars and workshops aimed at promoting the fantastic and innovative careers available in STEAM businesses.

Hosted by Professor Brian Cox OBE, the Science Summer School event, which is now in its eighth year, took place at St Paul’s Trust School in East London.  St Paul’s Way lies in the midst of Europe’s largest regeneration project that is transforming one of the most deprived areas in Tower Hamlets.  St Paul’s Way Trust School, which is rated as ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted and can boast 100% university acceptance for its students, is at the very heart of this community. 

Sponsored by Ibstock and AXA XL, the event was officially opened by social entrepreneur and joint co-founder of the Science Summer School – Lord Andrew Mawson OBE.  Lord Mawson welcomed hundreds of 12 to 16 year olds to the event before introducing Professor Brian Cox to talk about the science behind the theory of relativity and the evolution of the universe.

Annette Forster, Group Marketing Director for Ibstock, said: “We are delighted to be one of the key sponsors of this year’s Science Summer School, an event that is all about inspiring young people to open their minds and think seriously about the limitless and exciting opportunities in the UK’s STEAM industries.  

“As a business at the heart of building, Ibstock is passionate about the recruitment and development of young people and bringing new talent into the building and construction sector.  We invest over £1 million a year for example into our highly successful apprenticeship programme, giving people the chance to train for highly skilled roles, gain nationally recognised qualifications and get paid while they learn.  Currently, we have 36 enrolled and a further 17 being recruited this September.

“Joining forces to support the Science Summer School further highlights the importance we place on education and developing the next generation of talented individuals that will continue to push the boundaries in our sector for years to come.”    

Other seminars throughout the day included Andrew Smyth, an aerospace engineer and finalist on the Great British Bake Off 2016, who discussed ‘When Baking Meets Engineering’, along with speeches from mathematician Dr Steven Le Comber and bioengineer Dr Tina Chowdhury.  A range of science, engineering and arts focused workshops complemented the speaker presentations exploring innovative themes including a session with photographic artist Helen Marshall, co founder of The People’s Moon – a global project aimed at uniting humanity by celebrating the fact that 2019 is the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing.

Annette continued: “Not only does the Science Summer School celebrate the UK’s excellence in these growth industries and the importance of STEAM businesses for the wider economy, but this event also reinforces the fact that Britain is the best place to learn and experience science and arts.  It was a fantastic day where hundreds of young people had the chance to be truly stimulated by some of the leaders in their respective fields.”

Pupils from two of the 50 schools that benefitted from the event in London were Lathom High School and Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Engineering College, both located in Skelmersdale in West Lancashire, also the home of Ibstock’s Skelmersdale factory.  

Dionne Paxton, school careers adviser at Lathom High School, said: “There were a great mix of inspirational lectures and practical and exciting workshops for pupils to enjoy and give them a real taste of what opportunities are available in STEM.  One of the key messages that came through was the career opportunities available, particularly in apprenticeships and it gave our students some food for thought.”

Ibstock’s Phil Atherton, who also attended the event, has recently completely his apprenticeship at the company.  He said that going down the apprentice route and getting into the construction industry was the best decision he’s made in his life. 

“After I finished school, like most young people, I was a little lost in what I should do next,” commented Phil.  “I’ve always been interested in technology and engineering but didn’t really know where to start. I’d never really considered an apprenticeship but when I saw the Ibstock role advertised I thought I’d have a go and apply.  I haven’t looked back since!

“Five years on, not only have I achieved a foundation degree from Derby University in Clay Technology, supported by Ibstock, but I’m also close to gaining a full degree in the coming months.  This is something a few years ago I would never thought I could have done, let alone afford.  Not only that, but doing an apprenticeship has given me the opportunity to work within a market leading business and learn about the company from the bottom up.  It’s such an exciting and diverse company, giving me invaluable experience across multiple divisions and disciplines that I hope will stand me in a great position for the future.  

“Today, I am responsible for helping to ensure our factory operations are compliant with ISO standards, that the manufacturing standards for developing first class products are maintained and that the right processes are in place for technical troubleshooting.  I’ve also gained fantastic experience managing people.  

“For anyone thinking about a starting an apprenticeship, particularly in such an exciting industry sector, I would seriously consider it.  Going to university might be a great life experience, but doing an apprenticeship gives you the opportunity to learn while you earn and start developing your career much sooner.”

As the market leading manufacturer of clay and concrete building products with 38 sites across the UK, Ibstock offers a wide range of career pathways, including technical, mechanical and electrical apprenticeships, to roles that enable the construction of homes and spaces that inspire people to work and live better.  From production and engineering roles that utilise the latest in manufacturing technology like robotics and automation, to design, specification and marketing roles that help its customers visualise and create smart homes and spaces of the future, there’s a host of career opportunities available with Ibstock. 

To find out more about all the exciting career opportunities available, visit