Oxted resident Alexandra Knight is calling for Surrey schools with underrepresented children, and women interested in becoming Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) role models, to sign up to the Inspiration Academy, an Amey-backed initiative she’s launched as part of STEMAZING, a pandemic-inspired business she created last year.
Inspiration Academy is a four-month online course designed to empower women as STEM role models, enhance their public engagement skills and increase their confidence in delivering STEM sessions.
The course culminates in participants delivering a six-week STEM course for 5 – 9 year olds.
The 1,200 participating children, who will receive STEM sessions from 40 women, will engage with STEM subjects in a fun and engaging way. From making jet-powered cars out of paper, a balloon, straw and wooden skewers, to making lava lamps using vegetable oil, water, food colouring and an Alka Seltzer tablet, Alexandra wants to place STEM at the top of Surrey’s agenda.
Amey, which formerly employed Alexandra as a Technical Director, where she got to indulge her passion for STEM, has sponsored the Inspiration Academy as part of its social value programme. The decision to back STEMAZING also forms part of its work around National Apprenticeship Week (8 – 14 February), when it will be making one to one 30-minute career talks available to those aged 24 and under through its Chat and Learn scheme, which aims to inspire and engage young people across the county, and help fill the STEM skills gap.
Alexandra, who is also a Visiting Professor at Brunel University London, comments: “I’ve always been a creative person, and someone who’s wanted to develop new ideas and experiment in order to fulfil that creativity. After revaluating what I really wanted to focus on during the first lockdown, I now plan to help shape curious, creative and courageous children, as well as support women in becoming visible STEM role models. There’s never been a better time and STEM is so much fun!”
Findings compiled by STEM Women, an organisation that seeks to address the gender imbalance in STEM fields, reveals that only 35 per cent of STEM students in higher education in the UK are women. Furthermore, only 19 per cent of students studying engineering and technology are female.
Nicola Blake, Account Director for Amey’s Waste Collections Services Team in Surrey, adds: “Amey is a huge advocate of STEM subjects, however, there is a clear gap when it comes to STEM skills, particularly amongst women, and as a Surrey employer it’s important that we do all we can to help fill it. Whilst we want to reach and inspire those aged 24 and under via our Chat and Learn initiative over National Apprenticeship Week, creativity around STEM starts much earlier, which is why it’s fantastic to see STEMAZING helping the STEM stars of tomorrow flourish today.”
Women in STEM and primary schools interested in taking part in the STEMAZING Inspiration Academy can register their interest at www.stemazingltd.com/inspiration-academy. For more information on STEMAZING visit www.stemazingltd.com.
Those wishing to sign up to Amey’s Chat and Learn scheme can do so by visiting www.amey.co.uk/inspire.