BSI Inspiration Day case study: Kitemark centre tests students’ mettle

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Sixty Year 9 students from schools around the county went behind the scenes at the British Standards Institution’s Kitemark House in Hemel Hempstead.


BSI, in partnership with the Bucks Skills Hub, invited the 13 and 14 year olds on the workplace visit to give them a taste of the science behind its product testing laboratory and inspire them about different careers paths.


By chance, the visit had coincided with the publication that same week of the Government’s new national ‘Careers Strategy: making the most of everyone’s skills and talents’, which highlighted the need for all schools to work with employers in order to open up the world of work to students.


St Michael’s Catholic School, Chiltern Hills Academy, The Misbourne, Sir Henry Floyd Grammar School and Highcrest Academy had all selected students with a particular interest in science, technology, engineering or maths (STEM subjects) to benefit from the day.


Having listened to careers talks from senior executives to new apprentices, who each outlined their career path and explained routes into their industry,  the students then went on a tour of the different product testing areas. They witnessed breathing apparatus being stress-tested, door locks destroyed by would-be burglars, fire extinguishers heated until they exploded and robotic arms opening door handles up to 50,000 times.


The aim was to make the day as hands-on and interactive as possible, while also highlighting cross-overs over with the curriculum to add further enrichment.


Jackie Campbell, Skills Development Manager at Bucks Skills Hub – part of the national Careers and Enterprise Company’s Enterprise Adviser Network – initiated the visit: “The BSI Inspiration Day was an insightful and interactive visit to an engineering based workplace, and is very much in line with the Government’s career strategy where strong partnerships between employers and schools are vital to inspire and inform young people about different careers and develop their work ready skills.”


Kellyann Ripnar, Global Project Manager at BSI and STEM Ambassador, organised the students’ agenda: “I am passionate about inspiring young people about STEM careers, and it was rewarding for myself and the team to welcome such engaged and motivated young people to BSI. It is our hope that through activities such as this that more young people, and especially women, will choose STEM based pathways and careers.”


The day ended with a ‘hacker challenge’ exercise, with school groups competing against each other to complete a series of code-breaking and logic tests to unlock a treasure chest and share the chocolate loot!


Bucks Skills Hub is asking businesses who would like to inspire students about entering their profession to visit and add themselves to the directory.