Derby business news

Pupils learning in lockdown via a virtual classroom

CHILDREN of key workers attending a city school were the first pupils to experience a virtual classroom provided by workers at train maker Bombardier.

Fourteen children aged between eight and 12 years old at The Bemrose School, in Uttoxeter Road, enjoyed the experience which was designed to test the way forward for remote learning.  

Pupils had the opportunity to work with Bombardier’s science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) ambassadors on interactive activities and quizzes, as well as talking to employees about careers. They also learned first-hand about the rail industry, how the company designs and builds trains as well as hearing about the skills and attitudes needed for roles in the industry.

The event was deemed such a success that Bombardier plans to share its virtual learning blueprint with other local employers to scale up the level of activity to support other young people.

Claire Pavitt, careers guidance and work experience lead at the school, said: “The school has a long-standing partnership with Bombardier and we didn’t want to let the current situation stop our children from having these unique opportunities to learn.

“The objective was to inspire and motivate the key worker children about being in class and learning about local opportunities, but also to test the way forward in school for this type of learning.  

“Technology and working within the virtual world is increasingly common, especially in the current climate. It worked wonderfully well in the classroom and hopefully this means that we can continue our work with employers despite the lockdown.”

Bombardier delivers several outreach programmes to schools across Derby and its ambassadors were keen not to let lockdown dampen their ongoing efforts to enthuse and inspire students at its partner schools. 

They ran a successful pilot of the approach with employees’ children through an online ‘Bring Work to Your Child Day’ and developed the technique for the children who are still attending school.

Nina Atwal, from STEM leader Bombardier, said: “The energy and enthusiasm shown by the students throughout the day was priceless, especially more so through this alternative way of learning which was new to them. And as employees we too learned a lot from the people of our future.

“Each of them enjoyed the interactions with us and being on camera, they were absolute stars and brought lots of smiles to us all in these challenging times.  It was a pleasure for our STEM Ambassadors to bring this great initiative together for these students. 

“The teachers did an excellent job of supporting us in the classroom whilst as a team of five we collectively ran the interactive sessions through Microsoft Teams from our homes, some excellent collaboration which clearly demonstrates the power of employers and schools working together – it does make a difference. Thank you, Bemrose School for allowing Bombardier to part of your school day!’’