ONE of Barrow's biggest employers have been showing thousands of young people the fun side of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

The efforts form part of BAE System's Industrial Strategy, which is committed to boosting engineering across the UK, ensuring everyone has the skills needed to thrive in a modern economy.

Around 6,000 young people in Cumbria have taken part in a range of activities, from LEGO robotics to building model submarines. A total of more than 2,000 staff hours have been spent inspiring young people to learn more about STEM subjects.

BAE Systems’ senior management advisor for corporate social responsibility, Neil Doherty, said: “We are now starting to see the fruition of developing our STEM provision.

“We have worked with a number of different functions to develop a broader range of activities which are aligned to the Submarines business, and from this we have developed a skills map to identify what we’re trying to achieve at each key stage.

“One area of focus has been on developing after school clubs. We have run a pilot for Key Stage 3 students (ages 11 to 14) at Furness Academy which has gone really well, so we’ll be working to roll those out across all key stages in 2019.

“As well as boosting the profile of STEM subjects, there has also been a focus on broader themes - increasing attainment, aspiration, employability, and challenging gender stereotypes.”

The Company’s Corporate Responsibility team have also focused on expanding work experience opportunities for school students and unemployed young adults.

This year around 120 Year 10 students visited the Barrow site for a work experience placement, and this opportunity has now also been extended to students in Years 12 and 13, with around 12 taking part already this year.

Almost 30 unemployed people aged 18 to 24 took part in the Company’s Movement to Work scheme, spending two weeks on the Barrow site and two weeks at Furness College. Around half have now been offered apprenticeship opportunities.

Other BAE Systems Submarines Corporate Responsibility events of 2018 included: SkillsFest, held at The Forum, Barrow in February; Top of the Form – an inter-school STEM competition. The final took place in April with Chetwynde School beating Furness Academy; International Women in Engineering Day; Futures Friday – a day at Walney School to engage with the students during STEM activities; Furness Future Leaders – A STEM activity day aimed at school leavers in the Furness area, part of a three-week programme for 80 local children; Big Bang – a STEM fair held at Furness College in October, assisted by around 12 BAE Systems Submarines employees and UlverSTEM – a full day of STEM activities at Coronation Hall, Ulverston, in November.