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Winners of 2016 STEM Inspiration Awards announced

Published: Nov 24, 2016 6 min read

STEM learning

The winners of the STEM Inspiration Awards 2016 were announced on 24 November at a prestigious event at the House of Lords.

The STEM Inspiration Awards recognise the work done by a wide range of people and organisations, to enrich the experience of young people in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects, and to promote the STEM agenda. The event, sponsored by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), was attended by Ministers, educators and key leaders from industry.

Yvonne Baker, Chief Executive of the National STEM Learning Network, said:

“We believe all young people, across the UK, should receive a world-leading STEM education. Many thousands of people and organisations across the UK – from inspiring teachers and STEM Ambassadors, to innovative businesses and school leaders – are working with us to achieve this vision. We’re delighted to be able to recognise some of those who are helping young people aim for a bright and exciting future in STEM.”

Awards were presented in six categories to winners from across the UK, with the Science and Technology Facilities Council is providing winners with an exclusive visit to CERN. Winners will fly to Geneva in January, where they will have the opportunity to see cutting edge science in action, as well as meet with top physicists and engineers from across the facility.

 Justine Greening, Secretary of State for Education,  is pictured above congratulating the winners of the 2016 STEM Club Award, who were from her PutneyRoehampton and Southfields​ constituency. 

We were also pleased to welcome Jo Johnson, Minister of State for Universities and Science, who said:

“From Tim Peake’s mission to the International Space Station to Nobel Prize winners leading breakthroughs in science, the UK is home to exceptional scientific talent that puts us at the centre of global science. Inspiring young people to embrace STEM subjects and careers is crucial to maintaining this success.

“I congratulate all the teachers, employers and STEM ambassadors who received awards at this year’s STEM Inspiration Awards. Their commitment and enthusiasm goes a long way to nurturing young talent. Together with government’s new £2 billion investment in research and development, we’re supporting the UK’s scientific and economic future success.”

STEM Inspiration Award 2016 winners

STEM Ambassador

This award recognises significant voluntary contributions as a STEM Ambassador – individuals who give their time, expertise and energy free of charge to work with schools, colleges and other groups working with young people, to inspire them in STEM. 

2016 winner: Joanne Haskins, Turner Townsend

Joanne Haskins has been described as a “wonderful STEM Ambassador to work with”. She coordinates 50 other STEM Ambassadors, and is also Chair for the Education Inspiration group for the Institute of Civil Engineers in the West Midlands and a mentor for the Access Project, as well as delivering workshops to schools. She clearly goes above and beyond in her role as a STEM Ambassador. 

STEM Apprentice

This award recognises the work of an apprentice or technician in industry who has been particularly active and inspirational in helping young people to be aware of and aspire to technical and vocational careers. 

2016 winner: Eilidh Peat, Lifescan Scotland Ltd

Over the past three years, Eilidh Peat has led and participated in a number of events, and has been keen to encourage more women into a career in engineering. As a STEM Ambassador, she has presented to more than a thousand people in her company, talking about the STEM Ambassador programme and how other employees can get involved. Her commitment to raising awareness of STEM careers is evident, and, as well as completing her apprenticeship, she regularly takes time to volunteer at various activities and events. 

Most dedicated STEM Employer

This award recognises an employer which has been particularly proactive in supporting schools, colleges and other groups working with young people, helping them to inspire the next generation in STEM subjects and STEM-related careers.

2016 winner: McLaren 

For the past five years, McLaren has been involved with STEM education, something which has now been deeply ingrained in the organisation’s culture. Approximately 10 percent of their employees are already registered as STEM Ambassadors, benefitting both the employees and the wider community. 

Most dedicated STEM Club Award

This award recognises the teachers, technicians and others supporting STEM Club activity within schools or colleges, which evidence shows can have significant positive impacts in raising young people’s aspirations and achievement in STEM.  

2016 winner: Ashcroft Technology Academy, London

Ashcroft Technology Academy has made STEM a pivotal part of their school structure. Through a variety of interactive investigations, project work and by building new connections with STEM contacts, their students now have a passionate interest in all areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The Joan Sjøvoll STEM Leadership Award

This award recognises the vision and dedication of a school or college leader who has been influential in driving forward the STEM agenda in their school, resulting in better outcomes for young people. 

2016 winner: Susan Quirk, Ysgol Glan-y-Mor, Burry Port, Carmarthenshire

Susan Quirk has been driven to ensure her students are aware of the importance and ever growing need for STEM skills. As a result, she regularly takes learning beyond the classroom. She has established a number of extra-curricular activities to engage young people with STEM subjects. For many pupils at the heart of the programme, the support from her and her extra-curricular activities have been life changing.  

Most dedicated STEM Teacher

This award recognises a teacher or lecturer who have shown a strong personal and professional commitment to STEM, resulting in demonstrable benefits for their students and school. 

2016 winner: Dan Stephens, Stour Valley Community School

Dan is the STEM Coordinator at Stour Valley and for three years has organised an annual STEM Careers Fair. Working in collaboration with over 20 different companies and a number of STEM Ambassadors, more than 500 students attend this interactive careers fair and have been able to get thinking about their own career directions in a positive and engaging way. 

Shortlisted nominees

STEM Ambassador

  • Aidan Robson, University of Glasgow
  • Joanne Haskins, Turner Townsend
  • Richard Taffs, NIS Engineering
  • David Bell, Simboc Ltd
  • Jane Essex, Brunel University

STEM Apprentice

  • Nick Wibberley, Cavendish Nucear Ltd
  • Sophie Gray, Veolia
  • Elidh Peat, Lifescan Scotland Ltd

Most dedicated STEM Employer

  • Beck Greener
  • Network Rail, Buildings and Civils
  • Atkins
  • Pfizer
  • McLaren
  • Abbott

Most dedicated STEM Club Award

  • Ashcroft Technology Academy, London
  • Calthorpe Park School, Wales
  • Johnstone High, Paisley

The Joan Sjøvoll STEM Leadership Award

  • Paula Bull, Westminster Academy, London
  • Susan Quirk, Ysgol Glan y Mor, Gwynedd​
  • Alexandra Ballard – St Mary’s School, Calne
  • Asima Qureshi, Olympus Academy Trust, Croydon

Most dedicated STEM Teacher

  • Jorden Birch, Wales High School, Bramley
  • Dan Stephens, Stour Valley Community School, Slough
  • Mike Barenskie, Stoke Damerel Community College, Plymouth