Online Chats connect students with STEM apprentices for National Apprenticeship Week

This National Apprenticeship Week, students have been asking the questions that interest them to scientists with an apprenticeship background through the online STEM activity I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here.

During 30-minute, real-time Chats and through the follow-up Ask section, students have been connecting with these scientists, finding out more about where an apprenticeship can take them.

Real STEM apprenticeship experiences

A student from Wigan was lucky enough to chat to an engineering apprentice, Jack, who is on the course that they are considering in Bristol. They were able to get an insider’s view into workload, student life, and how much they get paid:

Screenshot of a live Chat from the digital activity I'm a Scientist, Get me out of here. The conversation is between a student with username page499bag and a scientist called Jack. The students asks "What is student life like? Do you live on the campus while you get your degree." Jack says "So for my first year I was living out of Weston-super-Mare as for my course that's where it was ran from. Student life is OK I believe from talking to students but the house prices are insane. I haven't lived on campus but still love Bristol." Page499bag says "I'm going for an Open Day in April, thinking about moving there but I don't want to have to work along with getting my degree because it will be overkill. How much do you earn a year doing aerospace?" Jack replies "So starting salary is £22,500. This gradually increases to the salary of a graduate (roughly £33,000) it definitely isn't overkill as you get support but if it isn't for you that's understandable."

This student’s teacher, Jen, praised the experience for their student, saying, “It was really lovely to see the students feel able to ask such open and honest questions in a secure and comfortable environment – especially students who are less forthcoming and may not have thought about an apprenticeship route before.”

The Chat platform also supports teachers to meet the Baker Clause. This stipulates that schools must allow colleges and training providers access to every student, from Year 8 to Year 13, to inform them about approved technical education qualifications and apprenticeships.

These authentic encounters gave students the opportunity to ask the questions that interest them, and get personalised responses. Jack gave another student a balanced view towards the positives and negatives of an apprenticeship:

Screenshot of a live Chat from the digital activity I'm a Scientist, Get me out of here. The conversation is between a student with username ward499pea and a scientist called Jack. The student says "What is your favourite thing about doing an apprenticeship in comparison to studying a uni course." Jack says "Being paid while studying! And having the support of so many other people with degrees to go to if I need help. I also love the experiences I've been given by working."

These first-hand experiences also highlighted the doors than an apprenticeship can open. Josh completed an engineering apprenticeship, and now works as a scientist:

Screenshot of a live Chat from the digital activity I'm a Scientist, Get me out of here. The conversation is between a student with username busy499wax and a scientist called Josh. The students asks "What are the best apprenticeships relating to science at the moment?" Josh says "Would recommend playing around with what you're searching for too, I actually did an engineering apprenticeship which then ended up being mostly science and now I work as a scientist!"

About the activity

I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here runs throughout the school year. Teachers can book for their students to take part in similar encounters with scientists. Chats are curriculum-related, and 30 related scientists are invited to take part. Special events (like National Apprenticeship Week) run throughout the year.

Every student can:

  • Learn about up to 30 relevant scientists through their profiles, including their CVs
  • Connect with a diverse range of scientists in 30-minute, text-based, online Chats
  • Deepen their understanding by sending follow-up questions
  • Decide which scientist deserves the £500 winner’s prize
  • Review their learning through a facilitated discussion

Find out more about I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here

Image: Header image from Canva, screenshots courtesy of I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here 
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