With help from a film prop-maker who worked with Marvel, Research Technician working on anti-Covid drugs and ex-LUSH Aroma Chemicals Creative Buyer, among others, Careers Hive offers pupils a unique and fascinating insight into STEM-based careers.

26 April – 1 May



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On Earth Day 2021, Edinburgh Science is pleased to announce details for its annual Careers Hive, a week-long free event run by Edinburgh Science Learning, the education arm of Edinburgh Science Foundation and one of the UK’s leaders in science education. Initially developed in 2016, Careers Hive inspires S1-S3 pupils to pursue a STEM-based (science, technology, engineering and maths) career through hands-on activities, discussions and workshops.

The importance of career events such as this cannot be underestimated. Recent report by UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) found that one in five students unintentionally block themselves from degree choices. Two in five students at university say they would have made better choices had they had better access to higher quality information and advice in school, and this relates to many STEM-based subjects such as medicine and dentistry, maths or economics. This highlights the fact that providing young people with valuable and useful career advice is of crucial importance to their professional futures and that is exactly what Careers Hive is addressing.

This year’s Careers Hive will be delivered to classrooms digitally as it’s aiming to reach 3,000 pupils live – plus all schools in Scotland with a pre-recorded offer. The new digital event was developed in close collaboration with schools to ensure the best possible experience for teachers and pupils with high level of engagement, interactivity and professionalism that characterise Edinburgh Science’s projects.

Thanks to the move to online, Careers Hive will reach young people from a wider geographical area, engage a larger number of pupils than ever before and provide opportunities for STEM professionals not only from Scotland but wider UK and around the world to take part in the event. The event will also see teachers becoming more integral to their pupils’ experience of Careers Hive as they – with support from the Edinburgh Science team – deliver the workshop.

As part of Careers Hive, school children will:

  • have discussions with young STEM professionals early in their careers using an interactive video conferencing system. This year’s speakers include representatives from, among others, Scottish Water, National Museum of Scotland, Public Health Scotland and University of Dundee, for example:
  • Kirsty Cookson, Research Technician, Drug Discovery Unit, University of Dundee – the Unit, with the support of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is working as part of a European consortium of 36 partners across the pharma and academic sector to develop new anti-COVID drugs.
  • Jenny Stark, Outreach and Communications Manager at COAST (Community of Arran Seabed Trust) – Jenny travelled the world as a marine biologist and at some point had the privilege of calling the Great Barrier Reef her office. She now works for a small community marine charity, COAST, where she shares her enthusiasm and passion to inspire a wide demographic of people to get involved with marine conservation.
  • Alice McGillicuddy, Workshop and Community Manager, Edinburgh Tool Library – Alice has a degree in animation and installation art and has freelanced as a prop and set fabricator on and off over the years, most recently working in film as an SFX propmaker on titles such as Mission Impossible 7 and Eternals, latest film from Marvel Studios to be released in November 2021, directed by Chloé Zhao.
  • Olivia Sweeney, Junior Evidence Consultant at Resource Futures – Olivia worked as Aroma Chemicals Creative Buyer, sourcing and creating the natural and synthetic chemicals for fragrances of Lush and is now part of Resource Futures team collating data around people’s habits, behaviours and interactions with waste to help inform decisions in both the public and private sector.
  • Joshua Redpath, Flood Risk Management Team at Scottish Water – Josh gained a MEng in Civil Engineering, focusing on both project management and flooding (including a dissertation on sustainable drainage systems). Josh is currently on the Scottish Water Graduate programme and is involved in a variety of different flooding projects.
  • Elena Höge, CEO and Founder of Yaldi Games – Yaldi Games is a startup games studio with the mission to blend learning and fun to create meaningful entertainment. She’s the Game Designer and CEO and is currently working on her first project “Wholesome – Out and About”. Through this game she hopes to build a bridge between digital and analogue and inspire real life activities.
  • take part in the Careers Hive Skills and Strengths’ Workshop delivered by their teachers who will receive Career-long Professional Learning support in preparation for it. It is a pre-recorded, interactive workshop designed as a catalyst for thinking about the future of our planet and our place within it as workers, leaders, problem solvers and creators. Students will explore and experiment with careers concepts in order to identify their individual strengths and consider what they want their future working lives to look like.
  • experience and learn in a new online environment using ‘proximity video chat’ to reimagine and replace the usual interactive exhibition experience at the National Museum of Scotland. Called World Challenges Immersive Environment, this digital space is built in the new platform, Town. Pupils will enter the space, create an avatar and have the freedom to walk in and out of conversations as they explore exhibits and interactive content on a range of topics. Within this digital exhibition hall, STEM professional volunteers will join live from their place of work (or at home) to answer pupil’s questions. The online environment will also include games, videos and other content relevant to different areas of STEM including engineering, space, medicine and energy production.

World Challenges Immersive Environment will be hosting a video version of the annual Think Tank in the digital exhibition space where pupils can have more in-depth chats with volunteers to find out how they got where they are in their career and what they love about their jobs.

To get everyone inspired by STEM, pupils will be encouraged to return to Careers Hive with their families and friends on the Open Day, 1 May, to showcase what they have learnt.

Learning Programme Manager Augusta Macdonald said: “2020 has demonstrated that the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) are not abstract but have a direct impact on our lives, and STEM professionals have been at the forefront of tackling the challenges we’ve faced in the past year. It’s technology that’s kept us connected and that allows us to deliver Careers Hive in an innovative new format, reaching more students than ever before and providing a great opportunity to help young people realise the wealth of meaningful career options available to them.”

Giving feedback on one of the previous Careers Hives, one parent commented, “It presented a well-rounded picture of careers in STEM subjects, many of which my daughter probably was not aware of” and a pupil added, “I realised that a job can be scientific and creative at the same time.”

Schools interested in taking part in Careers Hive are welcome to get in touch with the team on careershive@scifest.co.uk.

Edinburgh Science Learning projects are supported by a range of funders with Baillie Gifford as the headline sponsor. Edinburgh Science Learning projects reach around 60,000 people every year.