STEMNET and Coca-Cola Enterprises bring STEM to life

Posted on 9 Dec 2014 by Jonny Williamson

Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) and STEMNET joined forces last week to provide local teachers with the opportunity to meet STEM Ambassadors who volunteer their time to support lessons that enable young people to see the importance and value of STEM subjects.

Held at CCE’s North London bottling plant, the event brought together teachers and STEM Ambassadors from a diverse range of science, technology, engineering and maths backgrounds, and allowed them to demonstrate how they work closely with each other to help further the development of the STEM curriculum.

Alongside presentations about CCE’s national education programme, the Real Experience, including its on-site Education Centre, and STEMNET’s work, visitors were also taken on a tour of the factory followed by a networking event.

With a curriculum-linked programme, visitors to CCE’s Education Centres receive subject-related insight into manufacturing processes, alongside a guided tour of the factory. Each centre is run by a General Teaching Council registered teacher, employed full-time by CCE, and gives students the opportunity to develop their knowledge of the world of work.

Since 2011, CCE has invested over £4m in its national education programme which also includes the annual enterprise competition, the Real Business Challenge. To date the company has reached over 300,000 young people.

Steve Thorpe, operations director at CCE, Edmonton commented: “As a local manufacturer we are committed to supporting the development of young people to inspire the next generation.

“We work hard to demonstrate the variety of career opportunities available across the sector, and through our education programmes provide valuable insight into our business and the wider industry. By opening our factory doors we hope to inspire students and lay the foundations for increased uptake in STEM subjects.”

Increasing participation in STEM subjects is considered by government to be essential to bolstering the UK’s economy. STEMNET is the leading organisation in achieving this goal, working with thousands of schools and employers throughout the UK.

Kirsten Bodley, chief executive at STEMNET outlined: “This event shows the vital role that our volunteer STEM Ambassadors and our programmes have in educating and inspiring young people in STEM subjects, through real life examples”.

Also in attendance was Andy Love, Member of Parliament for Edmonton, who said: “For us to keep up in the world economy we need to promote our science and technology industries and encourage future generations to go into these fields.

“But it can be hard to inspire young people to see the importance of maths and sciences in the classroom without seeing how these can be put to use in industry. That’s why it’s hugely important that local firms, like Coca-Cola Enterprises, open their doors to students and teachers. If you can focus on a real job that grabs your imagination then you are far more likely to pursue and succeed in STEM studies.”