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Becoming a STEM Ambassador

Graduate Engineer, Andrew Keen, loves his job but says: ‘Getting away from your desk and doing something different is very appealing.’ That’s why he loves the challenge that being a STEM Ambassador brings.

He says: ‘It’s easy to work with STEMNET, they are very accessible, responsive and supportive – and they always give thanks and feedback at the end of the project.’

Andrew is currently working in the Research and Development department at diesel engineering manufacturers, Perkins, a subsidiary of Caterpillar Inc.

Choosing a project

When he was asked to come up with a ‘real life’ project for sixth form students at Thomas Deacon Academy, Cambridgeshire, he chose to develop a colleague’s idea for an engine component that could help the company increase market share, which had not yet been developed because the department was too busy.

Andrew presented the idea to the school, carried out interviews, and put together a four-strong project team. He says: ‘I met with the team every week to support and facilitate, and they also spent three days working with experts in the workshops at Cambridge University.

It was a real life experience for the students. They were really enthusiastic – and gained a heck of an appreciation of a diesel engine! They also developed a range of project management skills to complement their studies.’

Real results

The Fuel Systems Team was so impressed with the project that it is now working on a prototype component.

Although it meant being away from the office for three hours a week for six months, Andrew says: ‘Perkins is happy to let me go because the project was devised by them and will benefit them.’

And he adds: ‘A lot of employers recognise and support STEMNET now, so working with them looks good on your CV and in your application.’

Andrew also found the experience ‘a fantastic opportunity to gain team leading, people management and mentoring skills, which once again will help in my career development.’

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