Mission 44 partners with University of Hertfordshire to encourage young people from underserved backgrounds into STEM

 1 January 2023 15 September 2023
22 September 2023

A charity founded by Formula 1 heavyweight Sir Lewis Hamilton has teamed up with the University of Hertfordshire and Stevenage Borough Council to support progression into STEM careers and empower young people from underserved communities.

The Pioneering Young STEM Futures programme, an ambitions initiative aimed at fostering equal access to Stevenage’s STEM careers, is a partnership between the seven-time world champion’s Mission 44 charity and a number of local organisations including North Hertfordshire College and Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

Support offered by the programme will include bursaries for students’ industrial placements and collaborations with primary schools to improve the experience of science lessons through the University’s Primary Science Quality Mark (PSQM).

Sir Lewis, who himself grew up in Stevenage before becoming the most decorated driver in F1’s history, visited North Hertfordshire College in his old hometown this month to launch the programme. There he took part in lab experiments and spoke with students about their aspirations, as well as common barriers to accessing STEM jobs. They also joined Stevenage Borough Council’s Youth Skills Summit to speak with local employers, education leaders and young people.

Professor Kate Asante, Director of Lifelong Learning & Employment at the University of Hertfordshire who joined the expert panel at last week’s event, said:

“We are immensely proud to be working in partnership with Mission 44 and Stevenage Borough Council to launch the Pioneering Young STEM Futures programme. This innovative programme has brought together organisations across the borough to create the right environment for young people in Stevenage to access STEM careers. We are committed to ensuring all young people have the opportunity to thrive and as part of this programme shall be working with six primary schools and their science subject leaders giving them access to our Primary Science Quality Mark (PSQM) to ensure teachers have the knowledge, capability and networks to transform science education and shape future generations.”

There has been huge investment in STEM industries in Stevenage over recent years, with the town becoming a hub for some of the sector’s best-known employers, many of which Herts has partnered with through its research, enterprise and apprenticeship partnerships. The Pioneering Young STEM Futures programme is a chance to build on these relationships and further the University’s work in the science and technology industries and local community.

But despite this, many young people still face a number of barriers including awareness and access to STEM careers. The Pioneering Young STEM Futures programme includes a range of activities to tackle this and throughout the programme young people will continue to shape its development and implementation, ensuring it meets their needs and those of future generations.

PSQM is a comprehensive evidence-based professional development programme that effectively develops science subject leadership, connecting primary schools with a network of science experts at the forefront of pedagogical practice. Since its national launch in 2010, more than 5,000 schools have achieved a Primary Science Quality Mark creating a solid foundation of science education for over 1,000,000 children.

Inclusion and widening access to education is a core value at Herts, with over a third of its students being the first in their family to go to university. The University is the number one in the East of England for graduate social mobility.


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