STEM: Branching out
Beck Greener’s ‘STEM: Branching Out’ project is the cornerstone of the Community aspect of our CSR Programme.
We aim to help plug the skills gap by inspiring and encouraging young people, especially those from under-represented sections of the community, to consider careers in STEM sectors. The project encompasses a range of activities aimed directly at young people to consider careers in STEM, including the IP profession, and also intended to help our team members with opportunities to develop their skills in areas such as communication, leadership, presentation, and project-management skills.
There are four main branches of our project:
1. STEM Ambassador Programme
The goal of this programme, established by STEM Learning UK, is to support teachers and inspire young people to consider careers involving STEM subjects.
Since most Beck Greener attorneys have STEM degrees we can contribute to the programme from an unusual perspective.
We target schools with above-average numbers of pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds. Our Ambassadors attend Big Bang fairs and careers events, judge science competitions and mentor struggling students. We have also developed a ‘Spot-The-Invention’ workshop, where students examine different versions of gadgets and discuss improvements. The discussion is expanded into the wider context of work as patent attorneys.
An impact report we commissioned shows that, after engagement with our STEM Ambassadors, the number of students considering a career in STEM rises by 90%.
2. Pro bono scheme
We work closely with students to assess the patentability of school science and engineering projects and help them prepare and file GB patent applications for potential inventions. We also help them analyse the results of official prior art searches and advise on utilising their IP.
3. Insight opportunities
We host insight days for students interested in learning more about the IP profession. Fee-earners explain our work and students are given ‘hands-on’ tasks to complete.
We also take students on ‘enhanced’ work placements for one or two weeks, where they experience real assignments with attorneys and support staff.
4. Training placements
Beck Greener offers full-time paid work experience to IT students, along with business administration apprenticeships that provide young people with valuable training opportunities.
In 2018, our project won the Heart of the City Award at the Lord Mayor’s Dragon Awards Organised by the City of London and the STEM Employer (SME) award at STEM Learning UK’s STEM Inspiration Awards.