BBC Science Star To Open Preston’s College iStem Centre

25 September 2015

Technology reporter and BBC TV presenter, Maggie Philbin, will officially open the new £13m iSTEM Centre at Preston’s College on Thursday 1 October 2015.

The host of the BBC1 series, Bang Goes The Theory, and former Tomorrow’s World presenter will join leading employers from across the region together with special guests, students and local education providers to mark the launch of the revolutionary iSTEM Centre (innovation & science, technology, engineering and mathematics) at Preston’s College.

The new curriculum sets out to make students THE most employable they can be by equipping them with the skills required by industry, alongside high quality qualifications.

Maggie will share her passion for STEM and deliver a keynote speech on why education providers must follow in the footsteps of Preston’s College; equipping students with the sector-specific skills that employers actually want and need to address the growing skills shortage in STEM-orientated sectors.

More than 100 guests are expected to be in attendance including some of Lancashire’s most well-known employers such as Leyland Trucks, Johnson Matthey and Eric Wright Group. These companies have also provided significant input in the college’s new iSTEM curriculum and facilities to ensure courses are aligned with industry needs. Other keynote speakers on the day include Lis Smith, principal and chief executive of Preston’s College and 15-year-old Jamie Edwards, the world’s youngest creator of a Nuclear Fusion reaction.

As one of the largest facilities of its kind in the UK, the state-of-the-art iSTEM Centre features the latest industry standard equipment, including CNC machines for Advanced Manufacturing, 3D printers for rapid prototyping and design, a six-seater twin engine aircraft for Aeronautical Engineering, as well as a NASA-developed AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill for Health provision.

Maggie Philbin and guests attending the official opening will be treated to a tour of the 4,200 sq m, two-storey facility. It features input, process and output zones to create a holistic approach to provision, enabling students to formulate ideas, test theories and present findings to local firms.

On the day learners will help to showcase the Centre’s facilities by working on live projects across a range of curriculum areas including aeronautical engineering, science, sport, health and social care and automotive technologies.

STEM champion, Maggie Philbin, said: “It’s encouraging to see Preston’s College taking steps to bridge the skills gap created by an ageing workforce. They’re enabling more young people, especially girls, to pursue STEM-related paths and helping students understand how they can shape and develop the world.

“People know me from Tomorrow’s World and I’m always keen to meet like-minded colleges, schools and employers with a united vision towards championing STEM. Whilst not everyone may be as bold as Preston’s College, I hope they’re inspired in some way during the launch event.”

Lis Smith, principal and chief executive of Preston’s College, added: “After over two years of hard work it’s great to see our vision finally come to life and this event is the ideal opportunity to share our focus for iSTEM delivery. At Preston’s College we take great pride in supporting all of our learners to achieve the qualifications they need, alongside the development of the technical skills and knowledge that employers and universities are looking for and the iSTEM Centre is a critical part of making that happen.

“We are also extremely privileged to welcome Maggie Philbin, whose passion for STEM aligns perfectly with the values and ethos at Preston’s College.

“Almost 1.3 million highly-trained scientists, engineers and technicians are needed in Britain by 2020 and it’s our mission to ensure we help towards meeting that figure. The traditional education system can let young people down by failing to equip them with the skills needed to secure a good job once they leave college or university. Our new curriculum, which puts STEM skills at its core, has been designed to meet the needs of the modern workforce and will enable us to become the leading provider of STEM education in the north of England within the next three years – ultimately helping to make out learners THE most employable”

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