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Primary school children inspired by industry science experiments

Primary school children inspired by industry science experiments[L]ocal primary school children have hosted a visit from a group of apprentices from the biopharmaceutical manufacturing industry who have shown them how science is applied in the workplace.

Apprentices from GSK Ulverston have been working with Year 5& 6 pupils from Vickerstown School in Walney Island conducting a series of science experiments to give the children an insight into how everyday products are manufactured.

The creation of ‘Elephant’s Toothpaste’, where the children blend an assortment of ingredients in a large beaker to produce a large, coloured foaming mixture, proved a particular favourite. This also featured exercises to come up with toothpaste box designs using crayons.

Primary school children inspired by industry science experiments2Other experiments included the manufacture of small lava lamps using oil, water and food colouring, ‘shake and make’ hand cream in test jars and the design and construction of a scale model helipad.

Russel Brown, a year 6 teacher from Vickerstown School, said “The children all gained a great deal from the session. It gave the children a hands on insight into how science taught in the classroom directly correlates to the real world work environment. All of the apprentices where knowledgeable and showed care and compassion towards the children – a fantastic event!”

The GSK Ulverston apprentices, who have qualified as finalists in #BAC17, the national Brathay Apprentice Challenge, have devised and delivered the initiative to help engage primary school children in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects.

“The main thing about these educational STEM events we are holding is that everything is to do with inspiring school children into science industry sectors using different, fun, messy experiments in which to get them directly involved,” explains Kelly Stokes, a first year supply chain apprentice at GSK Ulverston, and a former Vickerstown pupil.

“We’ve got them doing various different chemistry and physics experiments which they love doing, especially as they get to wear protective clothing so they look and feel like real life scientists. That then opens up the chance to chat with them about our work, apprenticeships and possible careers in the science industry.”

The Brathay Apprentice Challenge is the search for the apprentice team of the year, supported by the National Apprenticeship Service. The competition includes apprentices working on a community project to benefit young people and activities that raise the profile of the team, their employer and apprenticeships.

As part of the Brathay Apprentice Challenge, the GSK Ulverston apprentices have already organised a programme of business breakfasts with local employers to showcase the benefits of apprenticeships and encourage them to take on apprentices. The national finals finish at The Brathay Trust in mid-June when the apprentice team of the year 2017 is announced.

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