STEMNET (Science Technology Engineering and Maths NETwork)

The importance of education in society is indisputable - it is the core of a country's development and adaptation to a fast moving world. As one of the most pioneering countries in engineering of all time, producing genii such as James Watt, Robert Stephenson, Frank Whittle and James Dyson, the UK is now sadly facing a lack of new minds, constrained to attract foreign professionals to cope with the skills gap. Surprisingly, sectors like automotive, aerospace, energy or motorsport have never stopped growing and undertaking new cutting edge projects, with the potential to interest anyone, even the less scientific minds. It is clear that, somehow, engineering and science is not promoted well or early enough to inspire young British brains. That is from where the STEMNET program takes its goal, bridging the gap between educational and professional worlds.

It was last year a friend introduced me to STEMNET, the ‘Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Network’. Counting more than 30,000 members called 'Ambassadors' this program has been trying to enable young people of all backgrounds and abilities to meet inspiring role models, understand real world applications of STEM subjects and experience hands-on activities that motivate, inspire and bring learning and career opportunities to life. By organising events or workshops between students and professional from all sectors, the program is giving the pupils all the tools to make their 'own path' through their education.

At Vantage Power we understand the importance of efforts towards the future generation’s awareness and ability. We push our employees to become Ambassadors and promote VP’s values: green transport for a better quality of life, and making engineering fun. As a young and dynamic company this make even more sense as education is not that far behind for most employees, so they can easily identify with the new generation and its difficulties in finding the right career path. It does not stop here for VP as such initiatives are beneficial both ways, developing the communication, planning and presentation skills of future potential employees, and enhancing the reputation of the company in the local community.

This is a win-win concept that should be widely adopted according to founders Alex Schey and Toby Schulz. Vantage Power’s engineers have had the opportunity to get involved in a large scope of STEMNET activities, working with pupils aged from 9 to 16 years. Notable activities include introducing the engineering complexity of projects such as the Bloodhound SSC, or helping students to build a water powered rocket for a fun look at aerodynamics and mechanical design, as well as a teambuilding experience. They have also been supporting GCSE level students to prepare work placement interviews and introduce them to the challenging professional hiring process. While garnering general interest in STEM topics amongst the children and providing them a productive and education activity, VP’s ambassadors have tried broadcast the fresh VP Vision.

With an increasing number of young, international and engaged companies in the UK such as Vantage Power, the STEMNET program is becoming more and more influential and will hopefully help the next generation to have all the tools they need to make the right choice for their career.

Thom Roziere