Going Back to School with J.E.E.P.
ABM has relaunched its Junior Engineering Engagement Programme in the United Kingdom following school reopenings.
The programme, which was suspended by national Covid-19 lockdowns, aims to tackle misperceptions of the facilities management (FM) industry amongst young people and their parents and create a pipeline of future technical talent. It has had over 450 graduates from 23 schools since 2017.
Supported by independent education charity, The Talent Foundry, the J.E.E.P. introduces year seven students, aged between 11 and 12, to the world of engineering and FM, bringing apprenticeships to their attention as a valid path to success before they choose their GCSE subjects.
This year, ABM UK will take the immersive programme to schools in London, Bradford, Leeds and Birmingham, with sessions running from September to December 2021.
ABM UK director, Adam Baker, explains: "Having gained such fantastic momentum with the first three years of the programme, it was incredibly disappointing to have to postpone year four. With young people now back in schools, we can’t wait to welcome our newest cohort to the programme and continue the important work of inspiring the next generation of technical talent.
"The J.E.E.P. initiative works towards a future where the ‘oily rags and no prospects’ perception of FM technical careers and apprenticeships is a distant memory. In reality graduate apprentices are earning between £26,000 and £30,000 just a year after qualifying – usually before they’re 20 years old – and they have no debt.
"Seeing feedback like this shows us that the programme is working. Our goal is to change perceptions of apprenticeships and the FM industry across the UK and we’re committed to this for the foreseeable."
With the success of the programme evaluated annually by surveying all stakeholders, including students, teachers, and volunteers, the J.E.E.P.’s latest results show a 20 per cent increase in student understanding of apprenticeships and a 19 per cent increase in young people seeing apprenticeships as something exciting.
When asked for feedback on the success of the programme, a hundred per cent of teachers agreed that their students were more interested in learning skills in STEM following their involvement in J.E.E.P. - with a former participant explaining it has "helped me find my love for STEM" and "helped me think and discover my skills and what I am good at."
The J.E.E.P. gives students a guided introduction to core FM subjects, such as electricity, lighting and safety, through three classroom sessions. ABM team members attend each session to represent the industry, answer student questions and work with the young people on planned experiments and activities.
During the course, there is a theme of sustainability which is discussed throughout the sessions to build up to the students' final presentation in the final session. The final presentation is where the students will show their peers, teachers and guests from ABM a project they have created with the aim to make their school eco-friendly and sustainable.
Cate Smith, Head of Programmes at the Talent Foundry, says: "The Talent Foundry is delighted to work with ABM on the Junior Engineering Engagement Programme. The programme provides young people with a valuable opportunity to open their eyes to the variety of STEM-based career paths available to them.
"It’s also helpful that this programme has a particular focus on apprenticeships as students need the chance to learn as much as they can about the different educational routes they can take before they leave secondary school."
In addition to in-school delivery of the course by ABM and its educational partners, a dedicated resources pack for teachers has been developed and is available for download from the J.E.E.P. microsite and Times Education Supplement (TES). Created for easy use in secondary schools, the pack incorporates everything teachers need from experiment guides, equipment lists, presentations and worksheets. These resources are designed to be delivered in schools over four days and have been downloaded by over 1,000 education professionals to date.
For more information on the programme, visit www.jeep-abm.org.