News & blog British Science Week case study: Westminster STEAM Week By Jay Chauhan, Business and Enterprise Officer, Business & Enterprise team at Westminster City Council. We’re always delighted to see the range of organisations that get involved with British Science Week – from schools to community groups, and beyond. Jay Chauhan explains how Westminster City Council celebrated British Science Week and offers some top tips on how to organise your own event. ~~~~~~~~~ For British Science Week 2019, the Business & Enterprise Team at Westminster City Council ran an extensive programme of STEAM-focused events for young people in Westminster secondary schools and colleges. During Westminster STEAM Week 2019, 34 STEAM dedicated industry tours, business challenges, speaker and panel discussions, networking events and assemblies took place, engaging over 2,500 young people aged 11-25. Every year, Westminster City Council, in partnership with Westminster businesses, curates a week of activities to engage young people in STEM careers. The activities – which coincide with British Science Week aim to encourage young people to raise their aspirations, develop an appetite for success, broaden their horizons and explore the worlds of science, technology, engineering, art & design and mathematics. Opportunities offered to students included a visit to Blue Zoo Animation Studio to find out about the use of CGI in their production work. Students were asked in groups to create a short storyboard based on a script sequence that they then presented to the group. Additionally, The National Gallery ran a series of workshops where students used art materials and photography to create a new product prototype to address issues in London like knife crime and air pollution. Several workshops were also offered by Three Discovery Oxford Street which incorporated coding, animation and film making, whilst ZSL London Zoo hosted two ‘Meet the Scientist’ sessions giving young people the opportunity to ask questions about the processes of scientific investigation. Other highlights included a Women in STEAM Panel, comprised of 7 young, inspirational women working within STEAM sectors who talked to students about their career experiences and leadership journey. Praising the event, a teacher from Pimlico Academy said: “Westminster City Council assembled an amazingly inspiring group of women. My year 12 girls were really engaged and empowered by it. The shyest girl that I brought rushed up to someone afterwards and had a lengthy conversation, which was fantastic and a real result.” Students also spoke favourably of the event calling it “an invaluable experience” given that “these women spoke openly to us about their struggles to success as well as gave us sincere advice, such as the need to be confident in your voice and speak up, taking advantage of every opportunity and being an example for others.” Across the week student feedback was overwhelmingly positive with 95% glad they attended an event and 85% saying they found the events useful, informative and inspiring. We hope to build on the relationships we have formed with schools and businesses to come up with further exciting opportunities for students as part of British Science Week 2020. How did we organise the event? Planning for Westminster STEAM Week commenced in November 2018. To begin, we sent out a message to local schools informing them of the dates for the week. Alongside this we reached out to local businesses and businesses of whom we had Social Value Agreements with, briefing them on the week and arranging meetings for them if they wanted to be involved. We worked closely with businesses to transform their day-to-day activities into fun and engaging workshops for young people. Once we finalised dates, times, numbers of students and targeted age groups we published the events on Eventbrite and informed schools to register for tickets. Tickets for all events were allocated on a first-come-first-serve basis with schools having to send names of students to us at least two weeks prior to the event. Between November 2018 and February 2019 all 21 workshops were bookable on Eventbrite. Alongside the workshops, we also reached out to businesses to run assemblies during the week. Schools filled out a Google Doc indicating their availability throughout the week and we would then allocate slots depending on the availability of businesses. A total of 13 assemblies were ran throughout the week. Top Tips: Plan early – do not underestimate the time it will take to plan each event with a school or business Work with businesses closely to develop exciting and innovative opportunities for young people Emphasise the importance of youth engagement to businesses Share events with schools as soon as they are confirmed Build a good rapport with school contacts so that you can email them opportunities as soon as they arise Utilise social media throughout the week to track feedback and raise awareness of activities Make sure there is constant contact with both the schools and businesses. This is especially important when chasing key information like dietary requirements and registration names Ensure that workshops and assemblies are both fun and educational Encourage businesses to build from the successes of their workshops and continue to work with young people – this could be offering work experiences or sharing other internal opportunities with them. Find out all the ways you can get involved in British Science Week here.