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3M Going Green to Grow Scientists

TV personality Dick Strawbridge will be helping schoolchildren learn how to help save the planet from the scrapheap when he launches a new national initiative this month.

The Scrapheap Challenge presenter and author of It’s Not Easy Being Green is backing 3M Worldlywise – a new, free online resource where students explore a virtual town to learn about sustainable living.

The website, from diversified technology company 3M, is designed to encourage more children to study science, technology, engineering and maths – STEM subjects – from GCSE to A-level and right through university.

Currently only 13 per cent of undergraduates are studying these subjects and this shortfall leaves two-thirds of British businesses with recruitment difficulties, according to the Confederation of British Industry.

But the 3M Worldlywise initiative, working with the Government-supported organisation STEMNET, aims to reverse the trend by educating young people about sustainable living and showing them how scientists, engineers and new technology can help solve the problems of the future.

Former Lt Col Strawbridge, himself an engineering graduate, said: “I am delighted to be involved with such a fantastic project, which aims to ignite children’s passion for science and maths while raising their awareness of environmental issues.

“I am confident that 3M Worldlywise will inspire more young people to go on and study STEM subjects and ensure there are enough scientists and engineers to continue looking after the world and its resources for generations to come.”

He will be launching 3M Worldlywise on Wednesday, 25 November at Garth Hill College – a designated technology college in Bracknell, Berkshire.

The resource has been designed for use by not only teachers and pupils, but also STEM Ambassadors – representatives from science and industry who visit schools to demonstrate to students the benefits of studying the subjects and how they apply to future career possibilities.

Special ‘before and after’ classroom surveys are being introduced by 3M to assess whether its ambassadors’ visits have an impact on pupils’ perceptions of STEM subjects. The surveys will not only allow the ambassadors to tailor their visits to gain maximum impact, but will also provide information on what proportion of students are considering careers requiring STEM qualifications.

3M’s UK Managing Director Doug Mitchell will be launching the website alongside Dick Strawbridge. He said: “As a technology company our future success is dependent on having employees with the right skills, so we want to do what we can to encourage greater interest in STEM subjects at GCSE level.

“This will create a greater pool of students to consider taking the subjects forward to degree level. We hope to engage and motivate students to choose science, technology, engineering and maths when it comes to selecting qualifications and careers.”

STEMNET Chief Executive Yvonne Baker said: “STEMNET is delighted that 3M is taking this initiative and leading the way for large companies in the UK to explore innovative ways to delve into sustainability issues in the STEM curriculum.”

Journalists are welcome to attend the launch event at Garth Hill College, Bracknell on Wednesday, 25 November. For further details please contact Luke Bull, see email below.


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