Inspiring Business by Sharing Success

Columbus UK invites local schoolchildren to Nottingham offices to spark interest in STEM careers

On 6 March, Nottingham-based business services provider Columbus UK invited a class of 10 and 11-year olds from Holy Cross School in Hucknall to their head office for a morning of activities

Presentations about the exciting ways technology is being used in the food and beverage, retail and manufacturing industries. Also on the agenda were the benefits of pursuing a career in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) fields.

The team of Columbus presenters provided easy-to-understand examples of how technology enables and simplifies everyday business processes, such as following how Weetabix makes its way from ‘field to spoon’.

“The response from the children was amazing,” said Mary Hunter, Managing Director of Columbus UK. “They were keen to take part in our technology demonstrations and ask thoughtful and probing questions throughout the session. It was especially encouraging to see so many young girls engage with our discussions – women are still under-represented in our industry, so we want to take every opportunity we get to show that there are clear paths into a STEM career for girls.”

In 2017, the UK had the lowest number of women employed in engineering in Europe, at just 8.7% of the workforce – a gender gap that is reflected across all STEM fields. Surveys also show two-thirds of UK manufacturers are concerned by the lack of skilled staff available, with 72 per cent doubtful that the government is making enough of an effort to encourage and educate young people considering a career in STEM.

“By reaching out to children at an early age, we’re building a foundation to allow them to embrace their interests in STEM before they reach the age for apprenticeships or graduate schemes. Inspiring more children to pursue a career in STEM is a major step towards growing the pool of technically skilled employees in the UK, and we place high value on inspiring children in the local community in the first place. I’m delighted by the efforts of my team at Columbus who recognise the importance of this, and actively volunteer and invest their time into our outreach activities,” said Mary Hunter.

The event was the latest of several initiatives Columbus have carried out with schools in the Nottingham area. The company has also previously donated laptops to Holy Cross School to provide children with a platform for learning about technology, and actively promote the establishment of ‘Code Clubs’.

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