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Foundation participants taking part in VR STEM Projects at the BBC

Manchester United Foundation promotes Women in STEM

Manchester United Foundation and pupils from its partner schools have been involved with various STEM projects over the past week.

| by Ashleigh Davison

Female students from schools across Greater Manchester, which are partnered with the Foundation, attended an event at the BBC, MediaCityUK, to explore Women in STEM (WiSTEM). A panel led by Claire Hoxworth, chair of the WiSTEM community at the BBC, spoke of their own personal journeys into career in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths industries. The students in attendance had previously shown an interest in STEM subjects and throughout the event were encouraged to explore the wide options of careers available.

Pupils learnt about coding through the BBC’s Micro:bit tool by programming and downloading  their names, emojis and music onto the device. They experienced virtual reality in the BBC’s Blue Room and were even introduced to an interactive cat. The girls also attended other workshops to learn about website design and how to create a mobile app.

Later in the afternoon pupils were given a tour of CBeebies ‘Swashbuckle’ programme, visiting the production galleries and the set, the aim of which was to show that STEM careers are widely varied.

Megan, 15, from Waterhead Academy in Oldham, said, “Today has solidified what I was already thinking of because I really like coding and to be able to do that actually for a living would be really fun. Without Manchester United Foundation I wouldn’t have had the option of attending this event; I’m not sporty by any measure but through things like STEM it gets people who are less sport-inclined to be involved in the Foundation.”

Rebecca, 14, from Swinton High School, added, “The Virtual Reality headsets were really interesting, seeing how technology has progressed throughout time was really good. It has opened my eyes to a lot more jobs in this area. Having Manchester United Foundation and our coach, Chris, in our school means we do things that are once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for people like us.”

A further event took place at Old Trafford in association with the RAF and Hands on Science, engaging young people in skills and employability tasks.  Pupils from Foundation partner schools attended a session where they learned team building skills and engineering, which saw them build cars to race and design helipads. 

Manchester United Foundation is partnered with 17 high schools across Greater Manchester.  Full time coaches are based within the schools to work with the pupils, feeder primary schools and within the local community to build lasting relationships and provide opportunities for young people to change their lives for the better.