01 Jun 2022
Business together to zero
We’re so excited to be working with Glass Futures as part of the Together to Zero initiative where we will be inspiring children in the region and opening their eyes up to local career opportunities. We sat down with Grace, Process Engineer at Glass Futures to find out more about her involvement with the project.
- What is your involvement with Together to Zero?
I am the Project Lead from Glass Futures working in collaboration with St Helens Council and St Helens Secondary Schools to pilot new approaches including the use of Virtual Reality (VR) to inspire young people and raise career aspirations into STEM and the advanced manufacturing sector e.g., glass industry.
The advanced manufacturing sector has an aging workforce, and currently only 24% of graduates studying science and technology take up roles which use these skills – and so this programme will seek to spark the interest of the young people in this sector from an early age.
Combining both in class and virtual learning experience with topics such as decarbonisation, recycling, and sustainability, will allow the students to see real reasons for their engagement, ambition, and aspiration.
- What are you going to deliver as part of the initiative?
We will deliver sessions in schools to educate the students about the history of glass and glassmaking in St Helens, the glass manufacturing process, the environmental impact of glass manufacturing and promote the importance of recycling, decarbonisation, and sustainability.
We will also introduce them to a career in the glass industry and the different roles and opportunities available to them within this industry. Through the VR technology, students will enter a virtual glass plant, where they will carryout several operator tasks intended to give them a sense of what it’s like working on a glass manufacturing plant and machinery. They will have a virtual hands-on learning experience tailored to bringing to life all that they have been learning in the classroom.
We will finish with a trip to the World of Glass Museum to solidify what the students have been learning and there will be an opportunity to watch and interact with a live glass blowing demonstration.
- Why are you passionate about the initiative?
I am passionate about the initiative because of its focus on raising career aspirations to enable students have a better understanding of different career pathways and opportunities available to them. We want to encourage young people to start thinking about their future early and share any uncertainties they may have.
It is also a great way of promoting young people’s interaction and engagement with local businesses such as Glass Futures, at an early age. For young people who are interested in the glass industry, partaking in this aspiration programme can be an opportunity for work experience, summer placements, or apprenticeship within Glass Futures which could then translate to future employment opportunities.
- What are you hoping to achieve as part of the initiative?
We hope to see an increase and improvement in educational attainment and commitment, motivation, and ambition. We want to inspire and enlighten the next generation of STEM specialists. We also hope to help schools align with and meet the Gatsby Benchmark, the government’s new careers provision strategy to prepare students for successful futures.
Through the range of inspiring and engaging activities including the use of VR we hope to get the students informed and excited by the glass manufacturing sector. It currently might not be fully understood by them, but we hope through this initiative they can gain an increased knowledge of the opportunities that awaits them in this sector.
Fantastic words Grace! To find out more about Together to Zero and how you can get involved, visit https://www.sthelenschamber.com/business/together-to-zero/