1,000 school students have been encouraged to consider a career in science, technology, engineering, arts, or maths (STEAM) through the first year of a technology park's schools engagement initiative.

The Milton Park programme, names Explore Milton Park, has involved more than 40 volunteers from the park's occupiers dedicating time to support local pupils with a range of STEAM activities.

The initiative involved on-site activities at Milton Park, in Didcot, and sessions within two local secondary schools.

Delivered by the Ahead Partnership, the programme included careers panels, interview practice sessions, ‘Trek Days’, and opportunities for students to hear first-hand from occupiers including Evotec, Vertex, Adaptimmune, Tokamak, and Whittard.

Herald Series: Milton ParkMilton Park (Image: Milton Park)

88 per cent of participating students reported that the programme enhanced their understanding of the skills, qualifications, and entry routes into STEAM careers.

77 per cent said it boosted their self-confidence, and 90 per cent of students said it improved their communication skills, interview techniques, and self-belief.

A year 9 participant said: "I enjoyed visiting the workshop, learning about the different careers and presenting all our ideas back.

"It was informative and made me excited for a future career in science."

A year 10 student added: "The activity allowed us to explore a real-life workplace and helped us understand what STEAM-related careers can look like."

95 per cent of the volunteers revealed they have an improved comprehension of young people, and participation enhanced their business’ profile and access to young talent.

Jeannine Baker-Wilson, senior associate at Oberlanders, volunteered at one of the career panels.

She said: "Programmes like Explore Milton Park help to broaden young people’s horizons, raise their aspirations, and ensures they have the skills and knowledge required to make the most out of exciting future career opportunities."

Senior marketing and communications manager at Milton Park, Anna Fletcher, said: "A huge thanks go out to everyone who volunteered their precious time to part-take in the Explore events.

"Without their infectious enthusiasm and drive, the programme wouldn’t have been as successful as it has been.

"The idea of the Explore Milton Park programme is to showcase the amazing companies at Milton Park to local school children and inspire them to think about STEAM careers.

"We are looking at ways in which we can roll out the programme to more local students in the future."

Plans for further STEAM work experience and taster sessions have been confirmed for 2024, as part of the programme’s calendar of events.

To find out more about Milton Park, visit their website, or to find out more about the programme, email explore@miltonpark.com.