This month HSL held its very first outreach day for young people aged 16 to 18. Ten students from Central Foundation Boys’ School in London were invited to look behind the scenes of HSL’s flagship laboratory, the Halo, and learn more about the day-to-day work of the scientists, clinicians and support staff who work there.
Gill Swain-Coad, HSL’s learning and development co-ordinator, helped to organise and lead the programme. “Unfortunately we no longer offer work experience for school students, but we still get so many enquiries from young people keen to learn more about what goes on in the lab. We thought an outreach day would be a good way of engaging with GCSE and A-level students and encouraging them to consider a career in biomedical science.”
The day included a tour of the laboratory, a talk by Wendy Leversuch, HSL’s head of scientific training, on how to become a biomedical scientist, and an interactive Q&A session. “The students loved seeing what the scientists were up to in the automated and manual blood sciences departments,” says Gill. “They asked thoughtful questions and really engaged with the tour. The staff enjoyed it too – getting the chance to share their passion for the job and inspire others to follow in their footsteps.”
Following the success of the day, Gill is keen to continue running the outreach programme and open it up to other schools in the area. The next outreach day will take place in July, with the aim of running three per year. “It’s an excellent way to motivate and inspire the next generation of biomedical scientists. In our group of 10, four said they wanted to study biomedical science and two were interested in medicine. It was a joy to see their interest and enthusiasm for the subject grow throughout the day.”