Blast off for Cambridge LaunchPad project days

Cambridge LaunchPad, an initiative led by science and technology companies, kicked off the New Year with a week of in-person project days at the University of Cambridge to inspire young people’s interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) through practical learning.

Around 300 pupils from six schools across Cambridgeshire took part in interactive, educational, and fun activities that were designed and delivered by the Department of Engineering’s staff. Pupils from each school spent a day learning about how engineers work by designing, testing, and modifying paper structures and rockets before launching their inventions outside at the end of the session.

Practical learning is an important part of studying STEM subjects as it provides students with hands-on knowledge of the subjects and how they can apply the theory to real-life situations. Practical work also supports student engagement, knowledge retention and boosts self-esteem. Following the disruption in education, through the pandemic closures and restrictions, practical activities and the associated skills have suffered.

Cambridge LaunchPad Programme Manager, Lisa Taylor, commented: “We are thrilled to have run our first in-person project days [since 2020] in partnership with the University of Cambridge.

“During the project days pupils were encouraged to work with their peers and Maria from the Department of Engineering, helping to build skills such as communication and teamwork. The interactive project days help young people to develop their skills for real-life situations and introduce them to diverse role models that exist in STEM.

“Thank you to the University of Cambridge for hosting the projects days and for designing the engaging activities that created lots of excitement and enthusiasm throughout the week.”

Maria Kettle, Outreach Officer, Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge, said: “Cambridge LaunchPad project days are a great way for young people to discover how STEM subjects are used to solve problems.”

A not-for-profit careers and employment company, Form the Future manages the outreach programme, Cambridge LaunchPad. The initiative is led by forward-thinking businesses in Cambridge that are investing their talent and resources to introduce young people to the opportunities in STEM careers. The Cambridge LaunchPad programme aims to excite, educate and encourage different age groups and is designed to address the diversity issues which exist in STEM employment.

If you are a school that is interested in participating in a future project day or you are a STEM-based organisation that would like to get involved with the programme please contact cambridge-launchpad@formthefuture.org.uk.

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