Engineer and founding CEO of Arm, Sir Robin Saxby, visited Little Thurrock Primary School in Grays, Essex on 21 November to inspire Year 6 students on the potential of careers in STEM.
The visit to the school, which was being assessed by Ofsted at the time, follows the generous support and funding from Sir Robin to enable AIT to create new lesson plans to make learning about technology more engaging for primary school students. The lessons are currently being tested by focus groups in schools, making sure both teachers and students find them engaging and appropriate for the curriculum.
“What I hope is I can ignite their spark because my passion came very early in secondary school, so I want to encourage them to find their path and get over any difficulties,” said Sir Robin.
“Don’t be afraid of failure”
“I think the more you have to pass exams and the more you have to get higher grades the more messed up you can become. Whereas the younger kids are more relaxed than the older kids and they can be more creative. I tried put across that engineering is about failing as well as learning and getting to the next step, so don’t be afraid of failure.”
AIT was represented by Director, Tom Abram and Chair of Trustees, John Carrington, who joined 90 Year 6 pupils for a morning assembly where Sir Robin talked about his early life and how he got into engineering and also impressed on the youngsters how it was important to have other interests as well their studies and careers to live a balanced life.
1,200 students join live lesson and talk
Then in the afternoon more than 45 schools and approximately 1,200 students from across the UK and as far as Gran Canaria, Spain tuned into a lesson by Education Consultant, Ravi Chagger followed by a talk by Sir Robin and a Q&A.
The afternoon started with a quiz and then moved into a lesson, Exploring the World of Technology with Robin Saxby. This included segments on understanding what STEM is, an introduction to engineering and plotting the evolution of communication.
There was also a segment that encouraged girls to think about studying STEM later in their education and showed the disproportion of girls to boys taking up STEM subjects and going to take engineering courses in technology and engineering at university, which resulted in huge shortage of women in the workforce.
The students were then introduced to the extraordinary story of Arm and how it changed the world by being the chosen microprocessor in the majority of mobile phones to the world’s most powerful supercomputers and how it was powering the future of AI and cloud computing.
Sir Robin inspires students with his career highlights
Sir Robin then told the captivated audience how he was given an electronics kit at the age of 8, which kick-started his interest in engineering and led to him being able to fix TVs and set up a television repair business at the age of 13. And how that paved the way to his first full-time job after leaving in colour TV design and how he learned sales and marketing skills from Motorola.
He was then able to explain how his career transformed as the founding CEO of ARM in 1990 where he led 12 engineers with seed cash of £1.75 million to go onto create the world’s most popular microprocessor.
Sir Robin along with AIT is now planning further visits to schools in 2024.