03 Dec

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Over October half term, five of our Year 10 students represented Holy Trinity at ‘Routes into STEM’ – a three day course at different Universities in half term. They were:

Firza, Muhammad, Fahad, Ali and Abis.

An account of Firza’s experience can be found below. We had some wonderful feedback from the team involved in organising the STEM events. We thank them and Miss Read for supporting our students and providing the wonderful opportunities which all students involved thoroughly enjoyed.

Routes Into STEM – Firza, Year 10

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Every year STEM offers a course called ‘Routes into Stem.’ I have always been confused whether should I study engineering or medicine and I wanted to get rid of this confusion so that is why I decided to apply. After a few emails, I got an acceptance email. I truly was happy because I knew that I was doing the right thing.

The three day course was held at the following locations :

1) Solihull College

2) Birmingham City University ( UCB)

3) Royal Mail

Every day was full of learning and exciting challenges. On the first day, I made a 3D copy of my schools label ( it was almost like photocopying a photo ), I also sharpened keychains( was which was so cool) and the most exciting thing from the day which really stood out was that was we had a go on a fight simulator( I crashed the plane!) It was a unique opportunity to experience taking the controls of a modern jet airliner simulator and guide it through some of the world’s exotic locations. After the flight simulator the most interesting thing I thought was pneumatics, which is a kind of engineering that makes use of gas or pressurized air. Then we ended the day with a talk  from two apprentices. They came and spoke to us about how apprenticeships had changed their lives. They told us what they earned and what really interested me was that they are learning and receiving a salary. They told us the advantages and disadvantages, they will have work experience and if the company you are working for have seen how focused and keen you are, they may pay your university fee. The disadvantages are that there will be greater responsibility, for example getting to work on time and completing all your study tasks, shorter holidays and another disadvantage is that the competition to secure a placement is very tough.

The second day was spent  at Birmingham City University (UCB),We had a very warm welcome from the ambassadors and Amy who was in charge of the day .We had a quiz (my team won) and after the quiz Amy introduced us to the Engineering course that university provides. I went to one of the ambassador and I told her my dilemma about which course to study. She told me about biomedical engineering, then she informed Amy that I had questions about biomedical engineering and when she had time between the day she came to me and asked me to ask any questions which came to my mind. So I asked her every question that came to my mind and then when she was done answering my questions, she invited me to the University’s open day .

Then we had a tour of the campus( we were going up and down the stairs!) I saw the Design department and the Engineering department. Then before lunch, we went back to the class and delivered our challenge, with the ambassadors supporting us.  The ‘Tomato Challenge’ was essentially about how the Nepal farmers bring their tomatoes from up the mountain to the market. So we were given a budget  of 150000 rupee. From that budget, we had to find out a way to have the tomatoes arrive in time. That was quite a challenge!

The third day was spent at Royal mail. It was very interesting to know how the letters/posts/mails go to their respective address. Mr Mahmood, in charge of this day, was very kind and open minded. At the start he said these words to me and I will always remember them, he said to me “It doesn’t matter if you are a girl or boy. You can do engineering if you want to. You should always follow your dream. In the engineering industry, we not only need boys we need girls too.” His words really inspired me.

Mr Mahmood then introduced us to two apprentices, who told us that apprenticeships really helped them. Then after asking questions we were separated in groups. Two groups were taken to complete a  challenge and one group( my group) were taken for the company’s tour. There were so many machines, there were some machines which separate the letters/posts/mail according to their size. There was a machine which puts yellow and blue in zig zag lines. If a letter gets to the wrong person’s address they could just scan the lines and it can simply go to their destination.

There was a huge machine which was still in process of being made. It was a parcel machine, which separates parcels according to their size. Then after the tour we were taken back and we completed a challenge.

After lunch we delivered a presentation on what we had done and what we learned in those three days. We were allowed to work on this with our friends. After the presentation we were given a certificate and the bronze badge.

The best thing about STEM experience was that I got to meet new people and make new friends (who I am still in touch with ).  Another great thing about STEM was that i got to experience College and University life even if it was just for a day( I learned a lot in one day! )

Becky who went with us to the three places was so kind and helpful. If I had any questions she would answer them and if she couldn’t she would research about them and would then tell me. She made the environment very friendly. Now I will apply for my silver level at  sixth form or College. I will try my very best to complete this.