Volunteer Spotlight: George Burch, CREST mentor By Sabah Adams, Engagement Officer at the British Science Association. ____________ This blog is part of a series of ‘Volunteer Spotlights’, released during Volunteers' Week, to celebrate and highlight the important contributions that our volunteers make to the BSA. George Burch has made an extraordinary contribution to young people at Millom School, a small rural secondary school in Cumbria, as his work as a volunteer, advising and supporting staff and students alike. George has a passion for science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), mentoring the teams that enter the National Science + Engineering Competition; his team last year finished third nationally, achieving a highly commended award. George's team also won the STEM inspiration award at the North West Regional Finals. The time, expertise and dedication that he has input into the teams has made a significant difference to the quality and maturity of the students’ work and the delivery of their projects, along with developing future projects and ideas. George is also a mentor for CREST Awards, which he introduced to the school. CREST is the British Science Association’s flagship programme for young people, providing students the opportunity to participate in hands-on science through investigations and enquiry-based learning. A large number of students who have achieved CREST Awards have secured places on STEM apprenticeships and degree courses. As Cumbria is an area with emerging opportunities in STEM industries, George provides careers advice and pathways to raise awareness of the many opportunities that are available within the industry. George’s passion for education and passing his extensive knowledge on to the school community is greatly appreciated by all staff and pupils, and the dedication and time he gives freely to support Millom School is truly inspirational. So why does George volunteer? Simply put, it’s extremely fulfilling and rewarding for him to see the progress his students make: “I see young people develop their confidence in such a short space of time. Seeing them being able to stand up and communicate their work to a variety of audiences, and reading their reports, I feel a buzz and have tremendous pride in their achievements. When any one of them is offered an apprenticeship or place at university, I’m just as chuffed as they are.” On top of all this, George is also planning some new, exciting projects for the school, and has secured funding to develop a wooded area within the grounds, making it a learning hub for a wide range of departments. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank George for his continued support of the British Science Association.