One of our Graduate Interns began to research into gaps within the West Costal area of Cumbria related to Higher Education. He found that there is a lot of work into STEM careers around West Cumbria but only in specific areas of STEM. This initial research helped to shape a trip to the Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, home to the world famous Lovell Telescope, targeting learners who had a keen interest in astrophysics and were currently studying A-Level Physics. This trip aimed to introduce learners to different STEM careers available beyond what is accessible at home. It also aimed to inspire learners to peruse STEM subjects at Higher Education at a key educational point in their lives.

The day and workshops

We took 13 learners currently studying year 12 A-Level Physics to the Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre. The day was packed with exhibition tours, workshops and a chance to meet current PHD students studying in the astrophysics field. The day included free roam tours around the planet pavilion, space pavilion and a look at the outside exhibits, which included the Lovell telescope.

Learners participated in the radio telescopes workshop using real life data from one of the smaller telescopes on the site to aid their calculations, allowing learners to get a head start on using the new equations in practice. Learners also participated in the pulsars workshop, a fantastic opportunity as a big part of the sites research time goes into this topic. Both workshops were designed to tie into the Physics A-level curriculum, allowing learners to learn something new before they visited the content in year 12.

As there were learners from different schools, this was a great opportunity for them to meet new people who had similar interests and to work through problems together.

Evaluation Results

Skill Development – 62% of learners identified as having tried a new skill

Cultural Capital – 92% of learners visited a new location. 62% of learners met new people

Before the intervention 69% of learners were either likely or very likely to consider STEM as a career. This rose to 92% after the trip.


What was the most memorable moment about today? Why?

“Learning about what a pulsar is and how they find them. I found that interesting because it was a new thing”

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