Cumbria Crack

Cumbria school children complete manufacturing experience programme

Furness Academy Industrial Cadets with Phil Wilson
Furness Academy Industrial Cadets with Phil Wilson

[O]ver 80 local school children in Cumbria have completed a ten week programme designed to give them a first-hand experience of how a global manufacturing company goes about its business.

GSK Ulverston has been working with six young teams participating in the national Industrial Cadets programme, organised in conjunction with Go4SET, the Engineering Development Trust initiative linking schools with employers and universities.

The teams were selected from three local schools, Ulverston Victoria High School, Furness Academy and Millom School, with school pupils aged between 12 and 14 visiting GSK Ulverston’s manufacturing facilities for site tours, ‘clean room’ manufacturing simulations, and teambuilding challenges.

The pupils were also given the opportunity to interview a company representative and talk with young apprentices, including the #BAC17 group who have qualified as finalists in the national Brathay Apprentice Challenge.

The site visits and activities culminated in a final assessment day, with presentations and a graduation and award ceremony, at GSK Ulverston. The final assessment required the teams to display and present their project outcomes to a panel of GSK assessors, with all successful students graduating as ‘Industrial Cadets’.

Milliom School Industrial cadets
Milliom School Industrial cadets

Emily Swarbrick, a member of Millom School’s Go4SET team said: “I really enjoyed the whole experience, especially working with the mentors from GSK. It has made me think about a career in science and technology.”

Industrial Cadets aims to introduce young people to the workplace, offering a real insight into how businesses operate. They engage in a programme of industry based activities designed to develop personal skills and raise careers awareness.

Helen Kellett, L&D Coordinator at GSK Ulverston, said: “This has been a fabulous experience for aspiring youngsters from different local schools to visit our Ulverston site and see what it’s all about.

“Our aim is to help to get them thinking a bit more about potential careers in science and technology and the kind of opportunities which the future holds for them as they progress through their education.

“The dedication of the students was clearly demonstrated with a number of them attending school during the half term break to continue working on their projects.”

Terry Sandham, Apprentice Programme Manager and Early Talent Lead at GSK Ulverston, added: “GSK firmly believes that the Industrial Cadets programme is a great vehicle for inspiring the next generation about the exciting and rewarding career paths in STEM subjects. It has been developed in alignment with our values and expectations of employees and future leaders, as well as our commitment to support education in our local community.

GSK Ulverston employs 35 apprentices starting out on a range of science led consumer healthcare, technical and business careers. In the last twelve months it has hosted more than 50 work experience students who gained valuable insights into the breadth of potential career opportunities available within GSK.

Its employees regularly visit local schools and colleges using games and competitions to inspire young people to consider STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) careers.