Gloucestershire-based engineering technologies company, Renishaw, has opened a new science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) Outreach facility at its headquarters site in New Mills, Gloucestershire, UK. The STEM Centre will strengthen Renishaw’s existing education outreach efforts, by providing a dedicated space for local schoolchildren to visit to learn more about STEM subjects and associated careers.

On June 23rd, to mark International Women in Engineering Day, professional downhill mountain bike racer Rachel Atherton officially opened the facility. Renishaw has worked with Atherton Bikes to utilise additive manufacturing (3D printing) technology to help push the development of bike performance, and Rachel has been a key part of that part of that drive to innovate in the highly competitive world of downhill cycling.

To mark the occasion, a group of students from Al-Ashraf Secondary School for Girls, Gloucester, UK, participated in an interactive engineering workshop in the Centre and teachers from local secondary schools also had the opportunity to tour the new facility. There were also presentations about Renishaw’s STEM Outreach strategy and some of the Company’s female employees shared their career stories and answered questions from the teachers and students.

Renishaw’s established STEM Outreach programmes have strong links with many primary and secondary schools in Bristol, Gloucestershire and South Wales regions, providing support by running sessions that complement the curriculum and add context to the students’ learning. The STEM Outreach team also attends many school careers events to promote Renishaw’s early careers opportunities, including work experience, apprenticeships, placement and graduate schemes, that help to provide a talent pipeline of people into the business.

The new STEM Centre will also provide further opportunities to focus engagement with underrepresented groups as part of the company’s commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 8 — decent work and economic growth. Renishaw is contributing towards the goal of reducing the proportion of young people not in employment, education, or training, as part of its wider sustainability efforts.

“Research from the Careers and Enterprise company, the UK’s national body for careers education, shows that if young people have four or more encounters with the world of work, they’re 86 per cent less likely to become NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training),” explained Rebecca Bound, Early Careers STEM Outreach Officer at Renishaw. “We know from our own student feedback that our engagements can really have an impact and encourage more young people into the industry. We are committed to working with students from a wide variety of different backgrounds to encourage more diversity in the engineering industry.”

Bound concluded, “Following the success of Renishaw’s first dedicated education outreach facility at our manufacturing site at Miskin in South Wales, we have invested in this additional Centre in Gloucestershire. The new Centre will provide schools with access to additional workshop equipment and offer interactive sessions on STEM topics, with the added benefit of being located within a site that can showcase real-life engineering experiences. We believe that this really helps to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers.”

For further information on Renishaw’s education outreach programme or to arrange a visit to the STEM centre, visit https://www.renishaw.com/en/stem-outreach.