IOM3 is committed to supporting the teaching of the topics related to our fields of interest within the 11–19 curriculum. The Schools and Colleges Education Team, based at The Boilerhouse in Grantham is responsible for the administration of the Schools Affiliate Scheme (SAS) and for developing links with secondary schools, sixth form and further education colleges, and all others involved in 11–19 education.
It also works with other organisations to spread the word about materials, minerals and mining, and to improve the knowledge and understanding of these disciplines among teachers, students and the public.
Viki Taylor spoke to Christopher Poolton, who has decided to pursue a career in materials science, following a talk as part of our SAS. Chris is in Year 12 at Hereford Cathedral School and hopes to go on to study materials engineering at the University of Birmingham.
How did you find out about materials engineering as a career choice?
I’ve always known that I have wanted to do some form of engineering in the future but I had no real idea which area I wanted to go into. Then Diane came to my school and talked about the properties of an engine part and possible uses for thermochromic pigments in everyday life. These intrigued me so I found out that Diane was a materials engineer. I researched what the job entails and have wanted to be a materials engineer ever since.
Were you aware of this kind of profession before Diane’s talk?
I was vaguely aware that materials engineering existed, but had no real knowledge of it until Diane’s talk.
Can you describe the talk?
Diane’s talk was part of a design and technology conference organised by my design and technology teacher, Craig Howells, and was aimed at helping local school pupils with their GCSE D&T coursework and exam. Diane talked about the components of materials in an aeroplane engine and how they were chosen for their specific properties, such as high melting point and then about thermochromic pigments and their use in kettles to give a visual representation of when it has boiled. I found it very interesting due to the huge variety of uses it could have. She also gave a brief description of her job, which appealed to me.
Do you think there is enough information in schools about materials-related careers?
I think that there is access to enough information in schools - but I believe that there isn't enough publicity about materials-related careers to prompt students to find out more.
What more could be done?
I believe that there could be a much greater level of publicity about material careers through talks, like the one Diane gave, so that more people are aware of materials as a career.