The Apprenticeship Launchpad has been developed by Oxfordshire County Council on behalf of the Science Vale UK Skills Steering Group, in conjunction with Science Oxford. It is part of a wider effort to raise the profile of science and technology in schools as well as promoting apprenticeships as an alternative route into STEM-related industries.
The programme starts in year 10 for a maximum of 50 students studying science, technology and/or engineering with predicted A*-C in English and Maths.
These students are already interested in STEM as a career – the Apprenticeship Launchpad showcases apprenticeships as a viable option to obtaining skills, experience and qualifications. Opening the eyes of the students to the exciting companies that are on their doorstep, giving them an opportunity to visit and experience what these companies do first hand.
6 after-school sessions hosted by local STEM companies where Launchpad members meet staff and apprentices, are shown around the company and undertake a hands-on activity.
Pilot year 2013-14
5 schools (3 Abingdon / 2 Didcot) – 50 students have attended sessions with
- Amey plc
- Crowcon, who make gas detection systems - they learnt about gases and dismantled and put back together one of the systems
- Hunts, a printing company – where they designed pop-up stands…and a winner was chosen by the SVUK Steering Group
- Culham Centre for Fusion Energy, building rockets
- Science & Technology Facilities Council Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, where they made and raced balloon cars
- Visit to the Skills Show at the NEC
- The final session with Mini Plant Oxford is taking place in January 2014
Some of the feedback from members of the Apprenticeship Launchpad about the first session:
- I’ve learned that there are many types and wide variety of jobs’
- 'Meeting all the companies in the Figure It Out session was fun’
- ‘I liked the fact that we had the chance to speak one to one with apprentices’
- ‘I really enjoyed learning about gas detection and taking a detector apart’
- ‘I’ve learned about the companies involved in the Apprenticeship Launchpad and the apprenticeships they offer’‘
- ‘I liked the 3D glasses and STFC were cool!’
- ‘Crowcon taught us that some types of engineering give off poisonous gases’
- ‘I learned that apprenticeships can be fun and a real option for the future’
To see a 2-minute video of the CCFE session which took place on 4 July 2013 please watch this viedeo:
Benefits of the Programme
Benefits to employer
- Helps fulfil the corporate responsibility of giving something back to the local community.
- An opportunity to showcase their company/sector to future workforce
- An opportunity to engage with potential apprenticeship applicants
- An opportunity to increase school partnerships
Benefits to employees
- An opportunity to identify and recruit young people to ‘grow our own’
- A rewarding experience
- An opportunity to become a STEM Ambassador and enthuse young people into STEM sectors
Benefits to Schools
- An opportunity to engage with local STEM businesses
- An extra activity for year 10 students providing information and advice on routes into the STEM sector
Benefits to Students
- An opportunity to visit local STEM businesses and find out what they do
- An opportunity to talk to current apprentices and staff and find out the routes taken into different careers
- A chance to ‘have a go’ at a business related activity
Future of Apprenticeship Launchpad
- In 2014-15 the Apprenticeship Launchpad will run again with the Abingdon/Didcot schools with the same format.
- In 2014-15 a second Apprenticeship Launchpad cohort will be run in the west of Oxfordshire with new local STEM companies.
- Funding for transport (particularly in the rural west of the county) has been secured for 2014-15.
Contact to find out more…
Skills Partnership Officer
Economy & Skills Team
Oxfordshire County Council