Three apprentices represented Siemens Digital Factory at this year’s Big Bang science and engineering fair held in Birmingham.
Vincent Goodall, Ben Jackson and James McCabe were chosen alongside graduates, apprentices and senior staff from across Siemens (Energy, Industry, Mobility and Healthcare), to represent Siemens UK at The Big Bang UK young scientists and engineers fair that took place this March after applying via the company’s volunteering portal.
Siemens had been promoting the fair on its social media network, and after discussing it with other colleagues who’d taken part in the past, all three were keen to sign up.
“I’d heard a lot of positive things about the event and I saw this as a great opportunity to help encourage children to find enjoyment in STEM,” says Vincent.
Volunteering to work on the company’s stand in the Curiosity Zone of the fair, the apprentices spent their time inspiring children through fun activities and interactive challenges.
“Whilst on the stand my duties were to explain some of the activities to the children, to encourage them to get involved and to assist them when they needed help. I also answered any questions the teachers and parents had about career paths in STEM,” Vincent explains.
“It was definitely the best volunteering event that I’ve been involved in - there were a range of interactive games which I was able to offer support for, which kept me entertained,” he laughs.
“I helped set up and assist with the Tilting Turbines and online games, encourage visitors to participate,” continues Ben. “It gave me the opportunity to talk to young people about what they were studying and what they wanted to do in the future. At times it was extremely busy but I enjoyed the challenge and found it worthwhile.”
“It was a really good experience getting to travel to Birmingham and get involved in such a big event,” James adds. “The kids were brilliant - very inquisitive and had lots of questions ranging from STEM topics to careers at Siemens.”
Although they gave up their time for free to take part in The Big Bang, the team felt that they also gained a lot from the experience. For Vincent his highlight was the chance to help children discover what they could go on to do.
“The main highlight for me was when I asked a young boy whether he would like to start an apprenticeship when he left school and he said ‘I don’t think I will be able to offer what they want’. I explained to him that there are lots of different apprenticeships available that require all different skills. After a bit of a discussion I felt that I’d managed to convince him that there is an apprenticeship out there that will suit him if he decides to take that route, and this gave me a great sense of pride that I may have affected someone’s life in a positive way,” he notes.
The apprentices also came away from the fair with enhanced soft skills they can add to their CV. Volunteering in this way can build confidence and allow you to improve your communication skills, both traits important to professional engineers and technicians.
Plus, as Ben highlights, he was also able to learn from other employees volunteering at the event.
“It was good to work alongside a range of Siemens employees with a vast range of experience and knowledge. I gained confidence and lots of valuable experience by working with them. By volunteering at the fair, I believe I gained experience in interpersonal, communication, leadership and supervisory skills,” he says.
All the apprentices enjoyed taking part in the fair and loved the positive feedback they got from the children, teachers and parents. They’ve all keen to take part again and would recommend other apprentices grab similar opportunities if they’re given the chance.
“Everyone who visited the seemed to really enjoy it,” enthuses James. I’ll definitely be putting my name down for The Big Bang next year, and I’d be open to taking part in similar events too!”