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Raising The Sciences Profile In Schools

20 June 2013

Costain is helping organise a major event in the northwest this weekend, designed to interest local school children in subjects vital for the future of the UK economy.

As a prelude to the Whitehaven Festival, one of the biggest family events in the UK that attracts up to 300,000 visitors to the small town of Whitehaven, Costain originated the idea for a STEM Day – Science Technology Engineering and Maths – for local school pupils.

“The Whitehaven Festival is the biggest event in the county,” said Costain’s Community Relations Officer for West Cumbria, Luke Richardson “and we got the idea to launch our event on the back of this.”

He initially thought of having a project manager undertake the presentation, but realised that most Costain site-based personnel have limited experience of addressing 800 boisterous schoolchildren.

With that in mind, popular television science presenter Steve Mould will be hosting the STEM Day, giving presentations to encourage them to get involved in STEM subjects.

Something of a ‘STEM celebrity’, Mould’s freewheeling approach to the subject matter is designed to make it more engaging for pupils. Mould is a science presenter for the BBC on Britain's Brightest and The One Show, and a former Blue Peter presenter.

“Most people think of science as exemplified by a guy in a white lab coat and glasses,” said Luke Richardson, who came up with the idea for the day. “We want to get away from that image.

“We want to ensure that when the kids go away, they have learned something.”

Costain has sponsored the Festival for five years, but Luke Richardson – a former volunteer organiser of the event – wanted to do something more. “We were looking at sponsoring it again but we were very keen to do something educational as well.”