Stephen Pickles, process development technician at Renishaw, was recently named runner-up in the Outstanding science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) Technician Award category at the UK’s STEM Inspiration Awards. At the ceremony in the House of Lords in London, Pickles was one of the many people who were celebrated for inspiring young people in STEM subjects.
Pickles was nominated by See Science, an independent educational consultancy that supports STEM delivering across Wales, for the work he has done to inspire the next generation of engineers. Pickles has volunteered as a STEM ambassador for three years to pass on the experience and knowledge he gained while completing his apprenticeship at Renishaw’s Miskin site near Cardiff. As an ambassador he visits localschools and scout groups across Barry and Cardiff to deliver engaging workshops that encourage young people to consider engineering as a potential career.
“Since joining Renishaw, Stephen has made a great contribution to our Education Outreach Programme,” explained Simon Biggs, Education Outreach Officer at Renishaw. “Stephen and some of our apprentices recently helped the students of Howell’s School design a regional award-winning measurement device to measure encoder rings for its Engineering Education Scheme Wales (EESW) Sixth Form Project. This is the first time that a project has been entered in the National Big Bang Fair since we started working with the school four years ago.”
“I knew that engineering would be a great career for me because I was a hands-on learner at school who was always making things,” explained Pickles. “Now, as a STEM ambassador I can show students that have a similar learning style that they can thrive in a career in engineering.
“It is also important that we support the STEM curriculum in schools because students will need these skillsin everyday life, no matter what job they have. We interact with more technology every day and need problem solving, maths and other technical skills to perform everyday tasks. One hour a week of these classes may not be enough to convey the importance of these subjects. The more we can do to help, the better.”
Renishaw has a dedicated education outreach programme in South Wales and South West England to help local schools, activity groups and universities enhance their STEM curriculum. This year Pickles and other STEM ambassadors at Renishaw have supported the Big Bang Fair Wales, Greenpower electric car competitions and hosted workshops at the Fabrication Development Centre (FDC), Renishaw’s dedicated facility for STEM education located at its Miskin site.