New Atkins STEMLab offers children a glimpse into future careers

Chris has officially opened Atkins’ new STEMLab, a new interactive learning experience at the company’s Woodcote Grove office in Epsom which uses virtual reality, game, touch screens and information boards to offer young people a glimpse into what a future career in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) could look like. Students and teachers from the neighbouring St Martin’s Junior School on Ashley Road were the first to try out the new facility.

Aimed at children aged between eight and fourteen, the STEMLab will use the current redevelopment of Atkins’ Woodcote Grove site as a backdrop for learning about what skills are needed, and the challenges that need to be considered when constructing a new office or building. The experience is split across two rooms which overlook the construction site itself. One room consists of a virtual tour around the new building, a sensory space where the children can see, feel, hear and smell things from the development itself, and a gaming station where they can build the office themselves in the fastest time and with as little waste as possible. In the other room there’ll be a 3D model of the new building sitting atop a looping video with interesting facts about the development as well as information boards  about the redevelopment project and the future of engineering.

Chris said: “Close links between local employees and schools are really important.  This STEMLAb centre will enthuse a new generation about the potential of technology for the future and will hopefully encourage them to follow a career in science and engineering.”

Mike McNicholas, managing director of Atkins’ Infrastructure division, said: “In the same way that technology is revolutionising the engineering sector, it also provides fantastic opportunities to engage the next generation of designers and engineers in a way which is more interesting and familiar, and which offers genuine insight into what they could expect from a career in STEM. We hope that the STEMLab will help make the vital connections between learning and careers so children can make the right choices now to enable them to make the most of opportunities in their long term futures.”

The STEMLab will be used by Atkins’ 150 STEM ambassadors to host young people from the town and further afield, from places such as Guildford, Richmond and Kingston. Last year employees from the company visited 33 schools in the area to discuss engineering skills and careers.