Volunteers at Milton Park were joined by students from St Birinus Boys’ School last week as part of its ‘Explore Milton Park’ school engagement programme.
The all-day ‘trek’ event involved a skills workshop at Vertex Pharmaceuticals’ dedicated Learning Lab and an exclusive tour of Oxfordshire’s largest flexible workspace, the Bee House, to learn more about sustainable buildings, design and planning. Students then had the opportunity to experience the future of green travel by taking a ride on the UK’s first fully electric autonomous bus service.
In the lab, located in Vertex Pharmaceuticals’ research facility, students were mentored on how to use a micropipette, accurately measuring out micro quantities of liquid – a foundational skill for lab scientists in biotechnology and pharmaceutical research. Scientists from across the company were on-hand to discuss their career paths and give valuable advice to the students.
Representatives from First Bus, Fusion Processing and University of the West of England’s research team also volunteered their time and expertise, leading a technology-driven workshop and tour. This showcased the autonomous bus service being trialled at the Park – soon to be operating on public roads between the Park and Didcot Parkway station.
The five-year ‘Explore Milton Park’ programme, which launched earlier this year, aims to inspire the next generation into science, technology, engineering, arts and maths (STEAM) careers through a diverse calendar of events, which are designed to develop local young people’s employability skills and understanding of the breadth of jobs available on their doorstep.
Milton Park has appointed Ahead Partnership, market-leaders in social value solutions that connect young people to opportunity, to deliver the programme.
The latest #ExploreMiltonPark event follows successful interactive careers panels and interview practice workshops with Didcot Girls’ School – part of the Ridgeway Education Trust, alongside St Birinus Boys’ School, Didcot Sixth Form and Sutton Courtenay CofE Primary School.
Events planned for the remainder of the year with the local schools include work experience days, a maths careers panel, more Milton Park occupier treks and guest speaker talks.
Veronica Reynolds, Sustainability & Community Manager at Milton Park, said: “We’d like to thank all the volunteers that have participated in the programme so far, making each event a great success and giving students genuine insights into exciting careers across a breadth of STEAM sectors.
“It was fantastic to welcome students from St Birinus Boys’ School to Milton Park, enabling them to find out more about the brilliant innovation that goes on in our buildings every day.”
Melodie Knowlton, Senior Director, STEAM Education at Vertex Pharmaceuticals, said: “Vertex has a longstanding commitment to inspire and equip the next generation of students to love science and pursue a career in STEM. We were delighted participate in the ‘Explore Milton Park’ programme and welcome students from local schools into our dedicated Learning Lab to learn from our scientists.”
Leonie Matthews, Programme Manager at Ahead Partnership, said: “Last week’s Milton Park trek was a great opportunity for students to meet with organisations that are working at the forefront of technology and innovation, enabling local young people to experience this dynamic workplace location first-hand and take part in interactive activities to develop their skills.
“This exciting activity forms part of the wider Explore Milton Park engagement programme which demonstrates an outstanding commitment from Milton Park and its occupiers to improving skills, talent and diversity in their local community.
“This five-year programme will provide local students with a series of meaningful opportunities to engage with local businesses and contextualise the raft of exciting career opportunities available on their doorstep, as well as enabling occupiers to meet with future talent and strengthen their workforce pipeline.”
More information about Milton Park’s local engagement work, the ‘Explore Milton Park’ programme, can be found here.