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Milton Park companies to inspire next generation into STEAM careers

A new five-year school engagement programme has launched in Oxfordshire, which will see employers located at Milton Park develop local young people’s employability skills and engage students with careers in science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics (STEAM).

The ‘Explore Milton Park’ programme is being funded by Milton Park, a leading science, technology and business community, which hosted the launch event at its state-of-the-art flexible workspace, the Bee House.

It has appointed Ahead Partnership, market-leaders in developing ESG solutions by creating unique business partnerships and programmes that connect young people to opportunity, to develop and deliver the programme.

Milton Park is the UK’s largest single ownership business community and home to over 250 companies, from startups to global organisations. The education programme will enable its occupiers to connect with 10-18-year-old students from local schools and colleges through a calendar of 12 different inspiring events and activities, including interview practice, careers panels, speed networking, ‘treks’ to visit different workplaces, work experience, employer-teacher workshops, video resources and primary school guest speakers.

The initiative aims to help students develop their confidence and improve their understanding of career opportunities available locally to them. Occupiers will be able to engage with future talent and help strengthen their workforce pipeline, with a particular focus on supporting young people from disadvantaged or under-represented backgrounds.

The programme will initially engage with secondary and further education students from Ridgeway Education Trust in 2023 – the multi-academy trust which oversees Didcot Girls’ School, St Birinus Boys’ School, Didcot Sixth Form and Sutton Courtenay CofE Primary School. Activities will take place both in-school and onsite at Milton Park, with expansion into more local schools to take place later in the year.

Veronica Reynolds, Sustainability & Community Manager at Milton Park, said: “It’s been brilliant to witness the successful launch event of ‘Explore Milton Park’ with lots of interest from Milton Park occupiers. The team has put an extensive amount of work into the organisation and vision for this programme that will bring real benefits to local schools and students.

“As a crucible of innovation and facilitator of pioneering scientific advancements, we’re passionate about inspiring the next generation of innovators and creators. We want to spark curiosity by enabling local students to witness first-hand the local engagement opportunities carried out by companies at the Park and learn from mentors who are leaders in their profession. We’re excited to offer this through ‘Explore Milton Park’.”

Stephanie Burras CBE, Founder and Chief Executive at Ahead Partnership, said: “We’re delighted to be working with our longstanding partner, MEPC – which looks after Milton Park – on a fantastic new initiative.

“Companies in the STEAM sector are on the look-out for young talent to drive forward the exciting innovations and technologies of the future. Tapping into the potential of local students and showcasing inspiring workplaces like Milton Park is a great way for young people to understand what it’s actually like to work in this field and inspire their interest in these career pathways.

“The focus of our initiatives is always on creating long-term impact and genuine positive change. Investing in ‘Explore Milton Park’ over the next five years to provide various ‘touch points’ between companies and schools will ensure that as many young people as possible can benefit and get as much experience from the programme as possible.

“We’ll be monitoring and reporting on measurable outcomes throughout this time, ensuring efforts are focused where they can make the biggest impact.”

An A-level student at Didcot Sixth Form, said: “I’m really looking forward to taking part in the ‘Explore Milton Park’ programme, which will allow me to speak to employers and gain a real insight into the exciting work they’re delivering at the Park.

“Even though Milton Park is on our doorstep, it can sometimes be challenging for us to fully understand the range of the roles and career opportunities and what goes on behind closed doors. However, gaining that genuine insight will really help to point me in the right direction and develop my understanding of which career route I want to go down.”

Stuart George, Careers Lead at Ridgeway Education Trust, said: “We’re excited to provide meaningful employee engagements for our students through ‘Explore Milton Park’, with a view to improving their confidence and their future potential in STEAM activities and careers.

“Many of our students will be applying for jobs at Milton Park in the near future and will become the workforce of tomorrow. Strengthening our students’ horizons of the exciting work already being delivered here is key.

“The students can’t wait to take part and we’re very grateful to MEPC Milton Park and Ahead Partnership for putting together this programme. We’re confident it will be a successful initiative which delivers real impact and inspiration for our students.”

Information about Milton Park’s local engagement work, including ‘Explore Milton Park’, can be found on its website, and updates from activities throughout the course of the programme will be shared on social media via #ExploreMiltonPark.

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The 'Explore Milton Park' launch at the Bee House, Milton Park

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About Ahead Partnership Ahead Partnership is a purpose-driven business that works with businesses across different sizes and sectors. Over the last 15 years, the organisation has been delivering social value projects that seek to overcome inequality, promote opportunity and positively impact wider society. The team delivers projects nationally, developing and delivering programmes that provide solutions to specific issues, bringing together area and sector-based partnerships and working with business around ESG and social value. Current programmes support social mobility and diversity and inclusion whilst helping young people to make informed choices about their future careers. Key sectors include built environment, digital and technology, transport, health and care, professional and financial services and green economy. The organisation works in partnership with businesses, the public and community partners, including public and private sector organisations such as local enterprise partnerships, local authorities, and businesses such as PwC, Arup and Landsec. This partnership work aims to support the creation of a successful, resilient society where everyone, regardless of their background, can succeed. More information can be found at Ahead Partnership’s website: About Milton Park Milton Park is a dynamic science, technology and business community in Oxfordshire and one of the largest in Europe. It is a collaborative working environment and a welcoming community that fuels innovation and sustainable growth for more than 250 companies and 9,000 people. With three million sq ft (278,709 sq m) of offices, laboratories and warehouses and 25+ amenities, Milton Park is in 214 acres of ownership, of which 43 acres is open and landscaped space with water shrubs, grass and trees. Its primary responsibility is to its customers with a duty to create a home for dynamic companies, small or large, thanks to an inspiring landscape, unrivalled connectivity and welcome humanity. It facilitates life-changing discoveries and conversations between companies, local and national government, research, academia, education, local residents and all relevant stakeholders. By managing the buildings and infrastructure in sustainable ways, the environment is enhanced, and flexibility is given for each company to realise its full potential. Milton Park provides a place where collaboration and the fusion of ideas can flourish and talent can thrive. Social and cultural life are integral to Milton Park. As a member of the community, people can enjoy its many amenities and events. About MEPC MEPC provides long term stewardship and creates transformational places with the future in mind. Its expertise lies in urban regeneration and facilitating the growth of science, business, and technology companies on its estates – giving rise to exceptional places that grow and evolve over time. Its track record is second to none. Across MEPC’s UK park and urban portfolio, MEPC provides workspace for more than 350 organisations and 15,000 people over four million sq ft

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