Withernsea High School

Withernsea High School

Inspiring confident young people to thrive in a changing world


  1. News
  2. September 2023
  3. Year 9 students explore careers in STEM

Year 9 students explore careers in STEM

27 September 2023 (by admin)

Over 270 secondary school students from across Hull and East Yorkshire recently enjoyed a day of activities designed to build interest, increase knowledge and promote careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths).

Among those taking part in the Humber STEM event, held last Wednesday at Hull’s Sewell Group Craven Park Stadium, were a group of over fifty Year 9 students from Withernsea High School.

Attendees participated in a series of interactive workshops delivered by representatives from local companies including Equinor, CR Reynolds Ltd, Hobson & Porter, Smith + Nephew, Drax Group and KCOM, who were on-hand to help inspire and educate.

Launched in 2022, initially for primary school pupils aged 7 to 11, the success of the debut event and its follow-up in June this year paved the way for expansion to include an opportunity for secondary school students to engage. For Withernsea High School’s Careers Leader, Viki Foster, the timing of this opportunity arrived at a beneficial time for Year 9.

Viki explained: “In the coming months, our Year 9 students will begin choosing their subject options for GCSE study. Learning about potential careers at this stage not only opens their eyes to new opportunities, it also helps them to make informed choices about their futures - the subjects they want to study, and the direction they would like to take after leaving high school.

The Humber STEM event provided a valuable opportunity for us to help engage, inspire and educate our students through hands-on activities. We were also pleased to reconnect with representatives from many local companies who continue to support the school’s Careers Programme through our own schedule of events.”

Trip leader and Head of Design Technology, Amy Norris, added: “Our students were excellent representatives of the school. They fully engaged with the activities, asked lots of questions and really took on board the information that was being shared regarding STEM career opportunities and post-16 courses in our local area. They were also delighted to come top of HETA’s leaderboard for one of the days’ activities. It was clear that they enjoyed the hands-on approach to learning and this something they can continue to experience as part of their DT lessons at school.”

With technology growing at a rapid pace, including the increasing prevalence of Artificial Intelligence (AI), and as engineering moves to tackle global climate and population change, STEM-related industries continue to grow and adapt to address local, national and global needs.

There is currently a strong demand across Hull and East Yorkshire for people with STEM qualifications, which are useful in both the manufacturing and engineering sectors.  

At present, manufacturing contributes 17% of employment in the Humber area, compared with 8.7% for England as a whole, with these numbers set to grow even further thanks to continuing investment in renewable energy and STEM-related projects to address climate change.

Humber STEM event organiser, Liam Johnson, said: “Humber STEM equips young people to meet challenges, build skills, learn about local industry and have fun whilst doing so. It has never been so important to enlighten pupils about how STEM is integrated into so many businesses. After the success of running our primary event for two years, we're very excited to now offer this opportunity to local secondary schools as well.

There is a real need to attract young people to sectors facing STEM/digital skills gaps and it is local businesses who can raise this engagement, acting as a catalyst in developing young people’s interests as they move through their education.”

Reflecting on the success of the secondary event, Liam added: Last week’s secondary event was a unique opportunity for our young attendees to rub shoulders with professionals from local companies who are actively shaping the STEM landscape in our area.

The event was all about igniting sparks of inspiration and providing insights into the exciting world of STEM professions. Young people got a first-hand look at what it takes to thrive in these fields, and we hope it lit up their passion for a future in STEM. We can't wait to see where this inspiration takes our future STEM leaders.”

Early feedback, gathered by means of a post-event questionnaire, suggests that 96.8% of participants discovered something new about STEM, while 71% indicated they would be interested in working for the companies that they encountered at the Humber STEM event.

Now established as an annual opportunity to interact with local employers, Humber STEM will return for both primary and secondary school students in 2024.


ABOVE: In an activity led by civil engineering, construction and development company, C.R. Reynolds Ltd, students were tasked with building the tallest tower possible using plastic cups.

ABOVE: In an activity led by energy provider, Equinor, students worked in teams to construct hydrogen powered cars. 





Share this:

Back to the Top