Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) partnered with global pharmaceuticals giant GSK to host a ‘Careers in the Curriculum’ masterclass for local schools, as part of its Careers & Enterprise Company programme. The event highlighted the importance of linking curriculum learning to careers (Gatsby Benchmark 4), to help students understand the types of jobs associated with the subjects they study.

The event, which took place on 10 July at GSK’s Sycamore House campus in Stevenage, received almost 90 applications for 60 places and was attended by careers, curriculum, and subject leaders from 39 Hertfordshire schools, as well as Hertfordshire LEP’s Enterprise Advisers and Co-ordinators.

GSK held a series of interactive sessions, including virtual reality/artificial intelligence, memory and ammunition workshops, to showcase GSK’s new technologies and science teaching resources to help teachers bring STEM curriculum to life.

Early Talent Manager, Fiona Smith, provided insight into the company’s recruitment process and how schools can help get students workplace-ready. Delegates also had the chance to put their questions to Fiona and colleagues - Senior Biologist Kay Murphy, Chemical Engineer Emily Kerle, Dr George Okafo and Chemistry Apprentice Chloe Markham. The panel discussed their personal experiences and highlighted the broad range of apprenticeship and graduate programmes GSK has to offer.

Dr. George Okafo, Senior Scientific Director at GSK who directed the event said: “As the work landscape evolves, it will become increasingly important to have a broad, flexible and diverse skillset in the workplace. By partnering with employers, we hope these interactive events will help schools and careers leaders develop their GB4 careers and skills strategies to meet the needs of the future workforce.”

Gareth Dace, Senior Enterprise Co-ordinator at Hertfordshire LEP, said: “Our Careers & Enterprise Company programme works to strengthen links between schools and businesses – not only to ensure our young people receive the best possible preparation for the world of work, but also to nurture the right skills to meet employers’ needs.

“The schools in attendance have benefitted from guidance and insight directly from one of Hertfordshire’s major employers, which will be invaluable in shaping their future careers programmes. We are grateful to GSK for opening their doors to this opportunity.”

Steve Trotter, Enterprise Co-ordinator at the Careers & Enterprise Company, who alongside the GSK staff help to organise the event, spoke about his highlights: “The Q&A panel featuring apprentices, graduates and longstanding members of GSK staff was insightful and informative, showcasing the diverse roles and routes to employment within GSK, including apprenticeships, degree apprenticeships and graduate roles. Dr George Okafo’s speech was really inspirational and I particularly loved the Artificial Intelligence/Virtual Reality demos!

“A massive thank you to GSK for hosting and working in partnership with us at the Careers & Enterprise Company and Hertfordshire LEP for putting on such an innovative event.”

GSK Chemistry Apprentice, Chloe Markham, said: “As an apprentice I feel that it is really important to highlight all routes into STEM careers and to provide schools, parents and students with the knowledge and tools they need to make the best decision for each individual.”

The event received a great deal of positive feedback from attendees:

“All of the workshops were highly informative and the interactive sessions were enlightening. I now have a clear idea of the types of careers GSK offer and how to advise students to apply for STEM-related programmes.”

“It was great to hear about the apprenticeship route. Chloe, the Chemistry apprentice, was excellent and shared her experience in a way that I could relay back to students at school.”

“Meeting staff from GSK and discussing curriculum/career aspects with other experts was invaluable.”

Learn more about our Careers & Enterprise Company programme in Hertfordshire.