Explore programme inspires nearly 1,000 Didcot students
Published on 30 October 2023
More than six months into the Explore Milton Park school engagement programme, the team reflects upon the positive impact achieved, looks ahead to the events planned for November and says thank you to all the volunteers who’ve taken part so far.
For the students
Since its launch in February 2023, Explore Milton Park has delivered activities ranging from careers panels and interview practice sessions to on-site trek days. Delivered by Ahead Partnership, 973 local students from Didcot Girls’ School and St Birinus Boys’ School have taken part in the programme.
More than 80% of young participants said the programme has increased their understanding of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) sectors and the skills, qualifications and entry routes into them. Additionally, 90% said it’s helped improve their communication skills, interview technique and ability to represent themselves.
The programme’s most recent events featured two Explore Trek Days where students visited Milton Park and the premises of various occupiers including Alamy and Crowcon, participating in a range of STEAM-related activities.
Students commended the experience for being informative and interactive, providing “a deeper look into the workplace” and leaving young people genuinely “excited about future careers in science”.
Following one of the Trek Days, a parent of a young person who took part, said: “A short note of appreciation for enabling my daughter to join the Milton Park trek. She thoroughly enjoyed the day and came home buzzing. She has been talking about it to everyone since that day."
For the volunteers
It’s not just the students, families and schools that gain, the programme has also benefitted the Park’s volunteers. A total of 34 people from across 18 different companies at the Park volunteered in the programme, with over 90% agreeing that the events have improved their understanding of young people and the best ways they can attract future talent. All volunteers said they had gained beneficial networking opportunities and would happily take part in future Explore activities.
Jeannine Baker-Wilson, Senior Associate at Oberlanders volunteered at one of the careers panels. She said: "I’d encourage anyone based at Milton Park to get involved in this education programme as the experiences are rewarding for you and the young people involved.
“Businesses that are committed to tackling local skills gaps in STEAM and encouraging more people to work in our sector have a golden opportunity to make an important difference through Explore Milton Park."
Milton Park’s Senior Marketing and Communications Manager, Anna Fletcher, said: “Without the kind support from volunteers like Jeannine, much of the Explore Milton Park programme would not have been possible. Thank you to everyone so who has so far generously dedicated their valuable time, resource and expertise to inspire the next generation of innovators.”
In November, occupiers will be offering work experience taster sessions to small groups of Year 9 students from Didcot Girls’ and St Birinus Boys’ Schools, giving them the opportunity to participate in workshop activities and receive a tour of different premises.
The students will be set an overarching STEAM-related brief that they’ll work towards throughout the experience, ending with a Dragons’ Den-style session and celebration event on the final day.
The sessions will be running between 8-10 November and 22-24 November 2023.