In August 2023, four apprentices from KMF worked alongside a number of Stoke-on-Trent schoolchildren developing the youngsters' STEM skills, knowledge, understanding, and love of the topic.
Based in both primary and secondary schools, our apprentices saw this out of hours opportunity as a positive way to develop the company's links with the community, develop youngsters' love of STEM, and also to develop themselves both professionally and personally, too.
Who were the KMF apprentices? The four KMF apprentices who were ambassadors for the company were: Adam Evans; Kayleigh Simm; Ethan Cooper; and Bayley Palmer. They have been with us for between one and two years.
When was this done? During the summer school holidays 2023, the apprentices were based in a number of schools for up to three days per week, five hours per day.
What did they do? A variety of STEM presentations and activities, based around working in teams and individuals. These included Spaghetti Towers, making kit cars, parachutes, and a rope game.
Where did it take place? The following schools and organisations hosted sessions that our apprentices led: Discovery Academy; St Peters Academy; Excel Academy; Newford Academy; Thistley Hough Academy; Cooperative Academy; Kingsland CE Academy; The Port Vale Foundation; St Thomas More Catholic Academy; Birches Head Academy.
The school children involved? Primary and secondary students aged between 7 and 12, in groups ranging in size between 8 and 30.
At KMF, we know that it takes so much courage for apprentices to lead STEM days for youngsters that they have never met before – but all four apprentices were happy to be put forward for these ambassadorial roles. It was obvious that all four got a huge sense of personal and professional satisfaction and development from it, after being taken out of their comfort zone by this experience.
Adam, Kayleigh, Ethan, and Bayley were absolutely superb in everything that they did, especially when you consider that they had to go into such a wide range of educational establishments – and we know from experience that schoolchildren are often the harshest critics of all! How you lead and speak to 7-year-olds varies greatly with their older counterparts, but it's all part of a steep but enjoyable learning curve for our apprentices, and the verbal feedback that we had was outstanding.
All four agreed that the STEM days weren't just about imparting their knowledge, but also being able to develop positive, productive working relationships with everyone in the room, improving social and organisational skills, and we feel that's something that will hold them in great stead for the future with us.
Whilst what the apprentices did was really important and of a really high quality, just as important to us was how they did it, and why they did it. When asked about what they got from this experience, their answers included:
"To give something back to the community and schools"
"To help youngsters have lots of fun with STEM activities"
"To develop ourselves, professionally and personally. This was massive for us"
"To hopefully act as role models for the company and what we do"
"Because this is the kind of thing we should be doing as apprentices"
"It's good to be taken out of our comfort zones"
"We got to learn more about ourselves"
"It makes us better at what we do back at KMF"
We feel that the answers show a level of maturity and experience well above their years and reflects brilliantly on apprenticeships at KMF. All four have differing career aspirations, and we are delighted that the wide range of pathways provided for our apprentices at KMF allows these aspirations to be fulfilled. The successful STEM placements were also thanks to the support and training they receive from the likes of Jenny Johnstone, Matt Page, and Nigel Tomkinson.