Students at a Tees Valley secondary school have been energised by the power of science to radically change lives.
Year 8 pupils studying science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM subjects) at Egglescliffe School and Sixth Form College near Yarm sat enthralled during an address by a prize winning pharmaceutical industry expert.
Helen Bickley told how she had been proud to meet patients with cancer and a wide range of other conditions whose lives had been extended and significantly improved by drugs developed by her colleagues at the Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies facility at Billingham.
Helen, Vice President of Quality Operations at Fujifilm, explained how in a career spanning more than 20 years she had risen from performing a simple analytical role in labs to now having ultimate responsibility for ‘sign off’ on multi-million pound new products prior to clinical trials.
She was talking at the school in her capacity as a role model for manufacturing industry, having won the Sembcorp-sponsored Outstanding Contribution title at a prestigious North East Process Industry Cluster (NEPIC) annual awards event for industry in the region earlier this year. With it came a prize of £2,000 to promote science at a school of Helen’s choice.
Lindsay Oyston, Head of School at Egglescliffe, explained that no decision had been taken yet as to how the cash would be spent but said: “We’re immensely grateful to Helen and to Sembcorp for this generous donation.”
She added: “Science is hugely important to us. Our A-Level science uptake has improved considerably in recent years and this money will play a significant part in helping us to build on that.”
Earlier, Jo Potter, head of HR for Sembcorp in the UK, had told the students that more young people – including more women than ever before – were entering science and industry via the apprenticeship route as well as by having a degree.
She urged the pupils to make the most of their science education and consider the range of career options that would be available to them when they entered the world of work.
She said that young people with the right skills, qualifications and behaviours were in great demand in many of the internationally owned firms in the region, and many had the opportunity to work in different parts of the world if they wished.
By Sembcorp Utilities (UK)