Delivering Vital STEM session for Liverpool school

Building Services Engineering apprentice and STEM ambassador, Ibrahim Qadir, along with Trainee Energy and Commercial Modeller, Millie Cooney, recently visited St. Margaret's Church of England Academy in Aigburth, Liverpool, to support their What's your Emergency Enterprise Day.

The aim of the day was to inspire and inform students about different career paths available across a range of industries that they may not have considered before now, and Ibrahim and Millie went along to fly the flag for the renewable energy and heat networks industry.

They held five engaging sessions across the day for year 10 students, highlighting how Vital Energi are helping organisations across the UK meet their environmental goals, and they shared some case studies from local projects too. Students also took part in a group task, where they were given a client brief and budget to develop an optimum energy solution. The duo received excellent feedback from both staff and students.

Ibrahim is a former St. Margaret's Church of England Academy student, so we asked him some questions about the experience, why he wants to inspire the younger generation to join the industry, why he chose to become a STEM ambassador, and more.

Tell us about your visit to St. Margaret's Church of England Academy…
Millie and I went back to my old high school to give a presentation and do some STEM activities with the students. Our intention was to not only talk about engineering, but also the sustainable solutions and practices that we implement, as a business, to achieve our environmental goals.  We began the sessions with an introduction to Vital, explaining what we do and shared some local case studies of our work, including Liverpool Waters and the University of Liverpool Quad Node. Students were then given a town, client brief, and a range of solutions all with different costs as well as heating and electricity production properties (a bit like top trumps). They were asked to design sustainable and cost-efficient solutions to meet the town’s needs. The game, which was designed by Elly in our Marketing team, helped the students grasp some of the transferable skills that engineers require such as critical thinking, teamwork and communication. The feedback from teachers and organisers was all positive, and they commented on the how engaged the students were with the presentation and task.

What did the students learn?
They learnt about the importance of implementing sustainable solutions in safeguarding the environment we live in. We highlighted the numerous pathways into engineering, such as apprenticeships and graduate schemes, explaining how broad of a term ‘engineer’ is, as it encompasses a wide range of disciplines, the roads to which are countless.

Why did you choose to visit this school?
This school was the high school I used to go to. I believed as a former student I could relate to them better and answer questions that I would have asked at that stage of my own life.

Why did you want to become a STEM ambassador?
I was given the opportunity to become a STEM ambassador and step out of my comfort zone to help inspire my own and younger generations to pursue a career in engineering. I believe that our work plays such a major role in the quality of people’s day to day life, so it is important to invest into its future.

Do you have any other STEM initiatives planned?
Yes, I have another event in March as part of the Leeds PIPES contract community engagement, which I’m really looking forward to.

If you’re considering the renewable energy and heat networks industry as a career, our apprenticeship scheme is now open. Click here for more information.

“Thank you so much for supporting our What's your Emergency Enterprise Day at St Margaret's with the workshops you delivered and inspiring the students to look at different careers. I was so blown away with the preparation and thought that went into your workshop, from both yourselves and Elly, who created the game.  The idea was fabulous, and the students really got involved during the day.  I was talking to some of the teachers at the end of the day and they were saying that a few of the students they expected to be not so engaged in your workshop were heads down, getting on with the task.  So, thank you.”

A representative from the school,