Female pupils experience working at one of Swindon’s biggest medical device companies 

Girl’s’ Work Experience News. Seventeen female, year 10 pupils from Swindon Academy School got a special visit to Beckton Dickinson. There they met inspiring women working in science and engineering. Beckton Dickson is one of Swindon’s largest medical device manufacturers.

Partnership: Girls’ Work Experience News

The partnership between Swindon Academy and Beckton Dickinson is an example of an initiative called the ‘Enterprise Adviser Network’. The Swindon and Wiltshire Careers Hub run this network. It’s partnership between the Careers and Enterprise Company, Swindon and Wiltshire LEP, Swindon Borough Council and Wiltshire Council.  

The Careers Hub recruits leaders in business. It then matches those leaders with a local school or college. Together they provide a long-term relationship between education and the business world. These Enterprise Advisers (EAs) work alongside the school to develop everything from pupils’ interview skills to experience days.

For Swindon Academy, the careers Officer Jessica Cook and Helen Hewlett, Beckton Dickinson’s HR manager, foster the partnership. 

Jessica said: “Having Helen means we’ve got someone to turn to for advice on how we should steer our careers programme. That’s how we make it the best it can be. This applies both to employers and to the young people that we’re supporting.”

“It’s been great that the pupils had female leadership in each activity. That means they can see female role models, within science and within tech.  Having a female role model, working within a STEM subject is inspirational for young girls aspiring to work in these industries.”

Helen Hewlett has been the EA for Beckton Dickinson for 18 months and has built the relationship with the school. She said: “What we are doing with these students is giving them the full experience of different areas within our business. They are seeing engineering services, microbiology and also going into production.  It’s the most rewarding experience seeing students get excited about our business. 

Auriel Chandarana of Swindon Borough Council runs the Enterprise Advisor Network.

Still from a video produced by graduates from CREATE studios in Swindon - Girls' Work Experience News
This video is the work of new graduates from Create Studios: https://youtu.be/ykvzeT-KF7g

Important understanding

“It’s important that pupils understand what employers need, while they develop their skills. We want them to learn and understand the journey to what they’d like to do in the future,” explained Auriel. 

In Swindon there are now 21 Enterprise Advisors working with 23 schools and colleges in the area. In an ideal world, each school or college will have two EAs that help them build better links with business. 

Chair of Switch on to Swindon Jenny Groves added: “The scheme is a fantastic example of:

  1.  how schools can help inspire young people into working in Swindon based businesses 
  2. And how business can think about how it can attract future pupils to work for them.  

Switch on to Swindon fully supports the EA programme and I hope more businesses get involved in it.” 

To become an EA head to www.becomeanea.com or email AChandarana@swindon.gov.uk

For more Switch on to Swindon posts go here. And for more Swindon in Business posts go here.