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Winners of the STEM Inspiration Awards

Published: May 20, 2021 4 min read

STEM learning

Inspirational professionals from the BBC, General Electric and Rolls-Royce, plus organisations including Jacobs and Farrans, are among the winners of the latest annual STEM Inspiration Awards.

Sponsored by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), the Awards celebrate the extraordinary individuals and organisations working to inspire young people in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). 

A number of the winners are STEM Ambassadors – these are STEM professionals who volunteer their time as relatable role models to support learning, raise aspirations and illuminate careers. The STEM Ambassador programme is funded by UKRI and delivered by STEM Learning. 
One of the awards also highlights the work of STEM Clubs - out-of-timetable sessions that enrich and broaden the curriculum, giving young people the chance to explore STEM subjects in less formal settings. 

The winners were announced by STEM Learning at an online awards celebration hosted by Dr Tara Shine (presenter of the 2020 Royal Institution Christmas Lectures and co-founder of Change By Degrees) at 4pm on 20 May 2021.  The video can be viewed on STEM Learning’s YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/sUeot7O-vkM

Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser, Chief Executive Officer at UKRI, said: “We are delighted to be supporting these Awards that celebrate the role organisations and individuals across the economy play in showcasing the variety of STEM careers and pathways to the next generation.” 

“We have seen the power that STEM has demonstrated in being able to address the huge problems that we have faced in our society and across the world in recent times.  Bringing together the necessary skills and expertise has been crucial and that is why it is so important that the STEM community is as diverse, creative and dynamic as possible. Our personal thanks to the organisations and individuals who play an important role to support this.”

Yvonne Baker, Chief Executive of STEM Learning, added: “Despite the challenges we have all experienced this year, I am delighted that we are recognising the achievements of individuals, organisations and clubs that have continued to inspire young people virtually - and face to face when they have been able to.”  

“I am particularly pleased to celebrate the Award presented to Farrans for their outstanding contribution to widening participation, diversity and inclusion in STEM - a topic particularly close to my heart.”

The full list of winners included:

Outstanding STEM Ambassador: Neil Chattle (Rolls-Royce)
Neil has been a STEM Ambassador for over 25 years, volunteering in a wide breadth of STEM activities across all age ranges, including the Rolls-Royce STEM science prize. 

Outstanding New STEM Ambassador: Lisa Cobble (GE)
Lisa became a STEM Ambassador in January 2019 having already been a STEM Inspiration lead at GE. Since then, she has been seriously proactive in her volunteering at GE, running ‘lunch and learn’ sessions with a winning enthusiasm. 

Inspirational STEM Employer (joint winner): Jacobs
Jacobs has done a tremendous amount to support STEM education and STEM careers over the last 10 years. Showing an outstanding effort from its team of Ambassadors, and a real positive impact for young people, the judging panel praised Jacobs for a “strong programme with clear links to the company's strategic CSR objectives and social value”.

Inspirational STEM Employer (joint winner): Steve Markham (STM Quality)
Steve Markham is a self-employed business owner, operating as a sole trader, so the fact that he has volunteered 240 hours as a STEM Ambassador is a huge achievement. He has embraced online activities, recording videos and supporting teachers throughout the various COVID-19 restrictions.

Inspirational STEM Technician: Dilani Selvanathan (BBC)
Dilani is a software engineering apprentice who has been remarkably active in her volunteering, even during 2020, judging several robotics competitions and running scratch coding challenges. 

Outstanding STEM Club: Ramsden Primary School STEM Club
Ramsden Primary School STEM Club makes a big difference to pupils at a school in an area of high deprivation. The club is often over-subscribed, creating a real buzz with exciting, creative activities. To boost what it can offer pupils, the club has partnered with the BBC, the Royal Microscopy Society and local businesses. The club even got a mention in the school’s latest Ofsted Report. 

Outstanding Contribution to Widening Participation, Diversity and Inclusion in STEM: Farrans
While building the South Lake Leisure Centre in Armagh, Farrans also incorporated a first-class education programme, looking to strengthen the local community and use STEM to boost children’s education and future career prospects. 

A full profile of each of the winners can be found at: https://www.stem.org.uk/stem-inspiration-awards. For more information on how individuals and employers can engage with the STEM Ambassador programme, please visit www.stem.org.uk/stem-ambassadors  You can follow us on social media at @STEMAmbassadors