17 Jan 2020
Institute of Biomedical Engineering scoops Science Oxford Gold Employer Award
Award recognises IBME’s role in inspiring young people to study and work in science
Science Oxford, a local charity which aims to encourage the pursuit of careers within STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), has recognised the Institute of Biomedical Engineering (IBME)’s continuing outreach work with local school students with a Gold Employer Award.
The Gold Employer Award recognises businesses that are involved in multiple STEM schemes, and actively supports and promotes Science Oxford’s ‘World of Work’ programme, which offers a range of workplace experiences for local secondary students.
Head of IBME Workshop James Fisk has been involved in hosting students for STEM work placements at the facility ever since he arrived 15 years ago. He says, “Someone gave me an opportunity when I was 16 and now I’m in a position to do so I’ve always felt I should pay it back.” James ensures the Year 12 students get hands-on experience in the workplace and a taste of working in a busy and rewarding environment, helping the IBME Workshop team to design and install bespoke projects for students and staff.
“I have learnt many of the key skills needed to work in this type of engineering and the kind of environment the work takes place in. I have been involved in both the practical and design side of engineering across two jobs which has increased my knowledge of different engineering processes and methods of manufacture.”
2019 Work experience student
The students get involved in projects such as making a device to monitor knee replacements in surgical theatres, and building a Perspex Haemolysis agar phantom chamber for use in an experiment to rupture red blood cells – using tools including saws, mills, drills and hand taps. During their placement they also write up their experiences as a blog post and spend time with James working on their CVs and job application skills. “I want to give them real-life experience which will help them apply for jobs, and hopefully inspire them and show them the sort of career opportunities that exist”, James adds.
“I performed a number of manufacturing procedures, including milling, drilling, finishing and tapping. This allowed me to produce a specially designed test tube holder to be used by the Jenner Vaccine Group in their research into a malaria vaccine. I also experienced using a CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machine to manufacture a test tube rack.”
2019 work experience student
This year the IBME also arranged an afternoon of activities including tours of the labs and workshops and a talk on biomedical engineering applications in neonatal healthcare for sixteen Year 10 female students, aiming to inspire more girls to study and work in STEM subject areas.