Pupils got kitted out for hands-on activities with apprentice mentors during a visit to global healthcare company GSK.
Secondary school learners from Ulverston Victoria High School, Furness Academy and Millom School were at GSK Ulverston last week for the launch of a health project.
The school groups were based in GSK's Learning Zone for the start of the Go4Set health project. Over the next eight weeks STEM ambassador mentors, many of them apprentices, will be visiting the schools to work with the students. The teenagers will achieve CREST awards on completion of their projects.
The young people were introduced to sterile manufacturing training and got kitted out in suits for a mock exercise to show how contamination is stopped.
Ellie Senogles-Ball, a 14-year-old pupil at UVHS, said: "It was interesting to learn about stopping contamination. It's a good opportunity for us to get involved with GSK on a project like this. I'd like to learn more about apprenticeships."
Sarah Irving, a Millom School science teacher, says there is a lot of interest in apprenticeships among her pupils and that it is fantastic for them to work with apprentices.
Mrs Irving said: "It gives the students real-life examples of where their careers could lead in STEM areas. This gives them a real insight into how businesses work and how professional projects are put together.
"They will meeting up once a week with an apprentice, they will learn team building and communication skills. The skills that our students have gained out of this project in the past have been brilliant. They also come away with a CREST award that has helped them."
Terry Sandham, GSK Ulverston apprentice programme coordinator, said: "Go4Set is a nine-week project and this is the launch day. The mentors will now go into the schools to work with the students each week on the STEM project.
"This year we had more than 450 applications for four apprenticeship places."
Applicants have been shortlisted and they will be invited to the assessment centre shortly.
Sam Coulson is a second year manufacturing apprentice at GSK. The 18-year-old, of Ulverston, who is part of GSK's Brathay Challenge team this year, said: "My apprenticeship is going really well. I enjoy working for GSK and making a product that changes people's lives. There is good variety with my apprenticeship.
"When I was at school I always wanted to be a physio and go to uni. But when I went on a taster day at uni that changed my mind and I wanted to do an apprenticeship at GSK.
"If young people do taster days at GSK it might spark that interest. We don't have a big apprenticeships scheme here and that gives us a lot of mentoring and one-to-one time to support us fully. The apprenticeship scheme at GSK is second to none."
Ethan King, of Millom, is a fourth year apprentice in mechanical engineering. The 19-year-old, who is working on project management scheme at the moment, said: "Events like this are very good to show students the company and the work we do.
"The apprenticeship scheme is absolutely brilliant and we are very well mentored."
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