Inspiring Kids into STEM Careers

20 December 2018

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Robyn Jerdan presenting at Pitlochry High School

 

Entrust resourcer Robyn Jerdan recently gave a presentation at Pitlochry High School to inspire the school students into careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.

Robyn’s talk was part of the school’s “Future Workforce Week” which saw speakers from a range of industries present at the school. Robyn was invited to talk as part of her personal development to complete her PhD with Abertay University.

 

Science at School

The current school system in Scotland requires students to narrow down their subjects after second year, and therefore at the age of 14 they can choose to discontinue with their science education. Robyn therefore tailored her talk towards this young audience, saying “getting kids excited about science at a young age is key to them considering a future career in science”.

Her presentation first covered science at school level. She highlighted the varied skillset required for a career in science and extracurricular activities already available to them, such as a summer placement with the Nuffield Foundation and the Crest awards. She also encouraged them to seek out and create their own opportunities with a “if you don’t ask, you don’t get” attitude.

Robyn says, “completing a small one-week placement in a lab at a young age gives kids a realistic view of science and helps to spark their interest.”

 

Science at University and Beyond

Next, she discussed the options for studying science at university level and the careers that can follow. Robyn discussed the science courses available from their local Abertay University, focussing on the course content of their BSc Forensic Science degree and the wide variety of jobs available to their graduates, such as an investigator and scene of crime officer.

She also outlined alternative routes to a career in science, stressing that a university degree isn’t always an essential requirement. There are opportunities to go straight into industry from school, starting with a factory production role and utilising in-house training schemes to achieve a career in analysis.

Robyn says, “it’s important to convey how vast the opportunities in science are, both when choosing a degree and a career. After all, I started on a BSc Forensic Science degree and am now completing a PhD in the field of Microbiology! Within the first 2 years of academic study you are exposed to such a broad range of areas and disciplines within science that you have time to discover where your interests are.”

 

Robyn in a lab coat

 

Working with Entrust

Robyn has worked as a resourcer part-time with Entrust for 2.5 years. When she started with us, she was an undergraduate student and now she is over a year into her PhD.

Speaking of her time at Entrust so far, she says, “I have been able to continue to work for Entrust throughout my studies due to their flexibility. I can complete my working hours from anywhere and at any time that suits me. This job has not only helped to fund my studies, but also better prepared me for my future career.

“Working with a specialist life science recruitment company has given me a new depth of understanding into the world of life sciences. I am already working with companies I could work for in the future, as well as receiving first-hand knowledge of the diverse career paths scientists are taking. This job actually gave me the confidence to dive into a relatively new discipline for my PhD!”

 

A Career in Life Sciences

Talking of her future career in science, Robyn says, “Entrust have always championed my studies and career, and I know they would be very supportive of a future transition from academia to industry. I am not sure what my next role will be, but I would love to incorporate the research skills I’ve developed from my role at Entrust, as well as the project management and hands-on supervision skills I developed as a Project Supplier and Supervisor for the Nuffield Foundation. Whether I choose a hands-on project manager role, a supervisor role, or maybe even a principal investigator role, I’m confident Suzi from Entrust will help me get there!”

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