On Wednesday the 7th of March, a group of seven Year 10 girls travelled to Savoy’s Place in London for the Industrial Cadet Awards Ceremony. The team consisted of: Ayesha, Becca, Amelia, Phi, Talitha, Saidhriti and Evie. In the summer term of 2017, three Presdales groups participated in a regional competition (sponsored by GSK) where each team had to prepare a ten week project about worldwide issues e.g. energy resources. Each group had to prepare a team report about their project, a model of their idea and a presentation for the judges. Every participant received a nationally recognised bronze Industrial Cadet Award, for their hard work and contribution to the project. My team, Presdales Brilliance, chose the topic ‘Our Healthy School’ and created a website from scratch entitled ‘Think Aloud’. In the regional stage of the competition, our team won the award for Best Overall Project and so had the opportunity to meet the other regional winners from around the country.
Our team chose to focus the project on mental health as we believe it plays a fundamental role in our wellbeing, as well as having an important effect on our academic performance, which we thought was very relevant to students our age. The website is full of helpful information to spread awareness about mental health and what it is, as well as blog posts centred on a focus of the week, helplines, calming music and links to informative videos. The main aspect of our website is that it combines professionally sourced advice as well as personal experiences, in a way that is student friendly and enjoyable to read. Our website was made by students, for students and so we believe that Think Aloud is the perfect combination of professional and personal. Our aim is to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health and promote its importance in a way that encourages people to discuss it. Our motto, ‘think allowed, think aloud’ says exactly this: we want to express that everyone should openly talk about and explore mental health and our website helps do just that. We chose to create a website in particular as it is easily accessible, can be constantly updated, has a low carbon footprint and is extremely cost-efficient.
After travelling through London, we arrived at Savoy Place and began to set up our display board. Throughout the day, our team had the opportunity to meet industry bodies through networking and promoting our project as well as meeting other winners and learning more about their projects and ideas. We also sat in on the awards ceremony to listen to speeches by the Prince of Wales and industry CEOs, encouraging young people to take up careers in STEM. As well as this, we each answered a recorded interview question regarding our Industrial Cadet experience. What I think was the highlight of the day was getting to have a private interview with His Royal Highness Prince Charles: we were one of two groups who had the opportunity to do this! We were asked questions about our project, our Industrial Cadet journey and plans for the future. Each member answered the questions confidently and we had all perfected our royal curtseys! After lunch, our group also attended an engineering and science lecture by special guest, Johnny Ball, who gave us an insight into some particularly interesting examples of engineering in action in today’s world.
Our team is planning on completing our silver Industrial Cadet Award, where we plan to incorporate the website into school life at Presdales; perhaps promoting it through assemblies, for use in form times or at home. I also plan on consulting the rest of the school council on their ideas on how to integrate Think Aloud into our school. In the future we are also considering developing a Think Aloud app and social media presence in order to further reach out to teenagers and improve accessibility.
I believe that the variety and diversity in our team was one of the main reasons that we worked so well as a unit; we could have rich discussions and make well informed decisions. From this experience, I have most definitely learnt knew skills: networking, teamwork and decision making, and the journey has inspired me to extend my scientific knowledge and experience and go into a STEM career in the future. Personally, the Industrial Cadet experience has allowed me to develop key skills that I have built during my time at Presdales. For instance, public speaking, opportunities like this and the Mock Trial in year 9 have really helped me grow these kinds of skills that will be vital for success in later life.
On behalf of my team, I would like to give a huge thanks to our GSK mentors, Steph and Kaye, for all of their guidance and advice through the journey, as well as Ms Walsh and Mrs Barnes for their help in getting us to London. Not to mention, Ms Walsh’s hard work behind the scenes to allow our team this opportunity of a lifetime!
Ayesha (Year 10)