At Siemens we are committed to providing a work experience programme enabling young people aged 14-18, to gain insight into the workplace whilst developing their technical and transferable skills. Unfortunately, following the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus we took the decision to suspend all in-person work experience programs, instead creating a virtual program.
A common perception of virtual learning is that it lacks the interpersonal interactions which create the positive engagement required for learning. At Siemens we are aware of the drawbacks virtual learning presents however, we are also confident in the benefits which virtual experiences can provide.
By going virtual Siemens can host many more students, improve the inclusivity of work experience and give students the opportunity to interact with senior leaders through the live-webinar series.
Face-to-face, Siemens could only accommodate roughly 10-20 per cohort. In comparison, in our three previous virtual work experience programs, we have managed to interact with over 3,000 students. We will now be accepting roughly 500 per cohort and will be in contact with subscribers to this newsletter when applications re-open for the next cohort.
The virtual program also gives students an unprecedented opportunity to interact with senior figures within the company such as Carl Ennis, CEO and Victoria Little, Senior Talent Acquisition Partner. Through the capabilities of the virtual work experience platform, students can interact directly with more senior figure in the business which they may have not been able to face-to-face due to availability.
Unexpectedly, the virtual program has also provided a huge boost to diversity and inclusion. We believe that this is due to virtual experiences being more accessible geographically whereas face-to-face is very dependent on the local demographic.
We have just recently completed our third cohort of virtual work experience and are overjoyed by student feedback. Specifically, the 48% increase in excellent student awareness of careers at Siemens.
Similarly the proportion of students who were “Very Confident” about finding a job increased by 22% post program.
Below you can see some comments left from students who completed the last program;
“Love being able to see different sectors of Siemens, and being able to join webinars with many different people with a wide range of jobs and what they do (along with who they are). Very diverse so allowed me to feel like I fitted in.”
“They have helped me understand what a potential career at Siemens could look like, and how I can get there. Everyone I have encountered throughout this programme has been an inspiration.”
How does the program work?
Siemens' virtual work experience is facilitated by our partners, Springpod. Springpod is a careers platform which specialises in virtual work experience programs, some of their other partners include Deloitte, Airbus and Royal Air Force.
One of the main reasons why we chose Springpod was their ability to hit the Gatsby level 5/6 accreditation.
This ensures a valuable student experience with a close and personal interaction to students.
See Carl Ennis, CEO Siemens UK&I, talk about the benefits of running a virtual work experience program by using the link below.
Our classroom favourite, Infinity Starship, embarks on its first mission!
The Starship is a 3D virtual environment accessible on smartphones and computers which acts as a central hub for our SeeMe live shows, interactive games, our Careers Bay. Furthermore, it has quickly become our most popular resources as it had 2,500 visits within the first month! Teachers have given great feedback on the resource and one school even briefly crashed the website as they used it to entertain all their students while waiting for Covid tests in school! The site has since been upgraded to handle the high levels of traffic.
As with most Siemens Education resources the underlying theme of the new mission is sustainability. Students travel on the Starship to an Earth-like
planet which is experiencing extreme forms of climate change as a result of unsustainable industries.
Students can then explore the various environments, collect tokens, answer questions and learn about the perils of bad practice and how we can help save the environment.
As mentioned previously the Infinity Starship is one of our most popular resources as it is an accumulation of many other assets however, from a teaching perspective Siemens has plenty of more focussed teaching resources which use lesson plans and work sheets to give a more focused structure to classroom activities. This takes the pressure off teachers when it comes to preparing lesson plans. The resources are curriculum-based and have been categorised into Key Stages 2, 3, and 4.
One of our most popular teaching resources which include attached lesson plans is “Energy Farm”. This resource teaches students how different technologies can be used to provide energy for people and their work. They must weigh up the pros and cons of the different technologies and understand how systems can be set up to supply enough energy to meet demand whilst keeping costs down and minimising negative impact on the environment.
All teaching resources are available free of charge on the Siemens Education website under “Teachers and Home Schoolers”.
Alternatively, the Siemens Insight Program is hugely popular. The Siemens Insight Programme is a self-driven program that gives students the opportunity to explore the world of Siemens, Engineering and Technology, as well as developing core skills such as communication, problem solving and creativity.
It is packed full of fun activities, media and quizzes which can be done at home or in the classroom. The Siemens Insight Programme is fantastic for KS3 and KS4 students who want to learn more about engineering and undertake an independent project. The program is made up of eight modules, which are available through a downloadable PowerPoint presentation.
The Siemens Insight Program can be found on the Siemens Education website under the section “Work Experience”.
Diversity, Inclusion & SeeMe
Teachers are constantly striving to get the best out of their students. When false preconceptions about engineering puts students off pursuing a career in the field. It is not only damaging to the industry but also sabotages individual student's future potential.
This is specifically why we have taken on the SeeMe program, to help dispel preconceptions surrounding the stereotypes about engineering careers. The program was professionally designed with BBC presenter Fran Scott, to be used in the classroom or set as a homework activity.
At Siemens, we are committed to encouraging a culture of diversity and inclusivity. We are proud of our progress, having recently achieved 45% female engagement and 60.3% BAME inclusion in our virtual work experience program. However, as a STEM-based company we are all too aware of the industry wide shortcomings in regard to D&I.
Big Bang Special Awards
Each year, Big Bang has some brilliant thematic prizes which focus on issues close to young peoples' hearts, like climate change or improving communities. These are sponsored by companies and organisations in industry, and reward projects for specific achievements, for example teamwork or innovative thinking. Only those projects that fit the criteria will be in with a chance to win a particular award.
The Siemens Digital Decarbonisation Award:
This award is for projects specifically with a focus on decarbonisation. Projects should aim to transform the everyday using digital innovation and skills as a catalyst.
Taking an everyday product and redesigning it to use lower carbon resources but still deliver the same function. It could be focussed on communication, branding, sustainable development goals or product changes. Siemens are looking for digital use in the project: developing the skills you need to live, learn, and work in a society where communication and access to information is increasingly through digital technologies like internet platforms, social media, and mobile devices.