GFG Foundation and LIBERTY Steel UK on June 20 celebrated the Grand Final of their student programme run in partnership with the Engineering Development Trust (EDT). The sustainability-focused initiative spanned four months, over which time mentors from LIBERTY Steel UK guided students from four Rotherham and Sheffield schools as they worked on an environmental project.
The GFG Foundation launched its pilot Student Programme two years ago with the goal of helping young people develop their STEM and green industrial skills, solve real-world issues in their local communities and enable students to become job-ready after school.
Following a successful pilot in Rotherham in 2022, the programme doubled in size in 2023. Nearly 40 students from Year 9 in four local schools—Wath Academy, Swinton Academy, High Storrs, and Sheffield High School for Girls—participated in the programme. The GFG Foundation students were mentored by eight professionals from LIBERTY Steel UK in collaboration with education partners, the Engineering Development Trust. They helped teach students effective teamwork, project management, data analysis, goal setting and how to achieve results.
Georgina Crumpton, GFG Alliance and GFG Foundation General Manager, expressed her enthusiasm about the programme’s growth, stating, “This is the second time that we’ve run a bespoke programme in the UK alongside our partners in EDT, and we are delighted that the programme has doubled in size following last year’s pilot. We will continue to look at ways in which we can learn and improve the programme.
Investing in future generations is something that we are passionate about at the GFG Foundation and it’s critical to a sustainable future. We believe that there are huge benefits to young people building real life experiences to help them navigate the ever changing, evolving industrial world.”
Steve Shaw, Works Engineer for LIBERTY Speciality Steels, shared his positive experience as a mentor, saying, “This is the first time I’ve taken part as a mentor. And it’s been excellent, I really enjoyed it. It’s been great to get to know the students from High Storrs School. It’s great to see them getting interested in science and technology, so it’s been brilliant, and I’d definitely like to get involved again next year.”
Philip Barley, Mechanical Section Engineer for LIBERTY Speciality Steels, also expressed his satisfaction with the programme, drawing upon his prior experience working with a primary school as a governor. Philip found it rewarding to engage with students at comprehensive schools, especially in the context of engineering and STEM projects. He highlighted the fulfilment he experienced when witnessing the students’ enthusiasm and interest in the programme, particularly during the presentation phase.
The students themselves also shared their thoughts on the programme. The team from Sheffield High School for Girls described it as a fantastic experience, expressing their excitement about developing their dream rooftop garden and their hopes to bring it to life in the future. The Wath Academy team worked on making Meadowhall more eco-friendly, sustainable, and energy efficient. They were pleased with the interesting ideas and solutions they generated during the project, even reaching out to Meadowhall for information. The team expressed their desire to continue working together and furthering their experiences in similar initiatives.
Drawing the event to a close, Georgina announced that the GFG Foundation would continue the programme in South Yorkshire in the upcoming academic year, ensuring that the initiative’s impact persists. The GFG Foundation Student Programme has proven to be a resounding success, fostering young talents, promoting sustainability, and equipping students with valuable skills to thrive in the ever-changing industrial landscape.