Student Newsletter: Our work experience with WiSET

Hinde House High School students Sophie and Mohamood joined WiSET for two jam-packed weeks for their work experience last Summer. As well as spending time with us at SHU, they visited other schools and colleges with WiSET staff, took part in STEM events, went to industrial sites and had a go on a professional flight simulator! This is a Special Edition newsletter they have created detailing their experiences...

WiSET projects in SHU and beyond

On the first day we had a Health & Safety induction and tour of office (including phone numbers in case of emergency) and we observed a girls' day in engineering with Barnsley College at SHU.

We were working with Jill Collins and Denise Eaton and some student ambassadors during this first day. We also met Andy Bullough who explained about the CREST Award we were going to do over the two weeks with WiSET. We helped Denise with a group of year 8 girls that visited the university to help them have an insight on careers to do with Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.

We were introduced to Frances Robertson who works in the Architecture department in the university. Frances showed us around the Architecture area where students worked. Later in the afternoon we started research into the Man of Steel project with Pat Morton (see below!).

On the fourth day we went to Rotherham to help Linda Bray of CSE with the STEMNET event in the New York stadium. We made our own way to Rotherham going on a train. Different schools from Sheffield and Rotherham visited to show their designs. On the last day of the week we had an interview with Dr Sarah Hill regarding space scientists. We asked her questions about careers in space science and what type of education she has undertaken to be accepted into her job in the Space Centre at Leicester.

On the beginning of week two Mohamood went to a site visit with Alan Watkins (an Electrical Engineer). Mohamood was shown around the new build at Collegiate Campus and explained how the new building will be built.

Our research into The Man Of Steel Project

Pat Morton is working on a research project about the impact of landmark sculptures on the community. She asked Sophie and Mohamood to do their own research about a landmark sculpture that is planned for Sheffield and Rotherham. For more about the sculpture go to

The idea of a monumental landmark sculpture came from local people who first saw a model of the sculpture in a Sheffield exhibition. Almost everyone who viewed it for the first time made the same comment: "This could be our Angel of the North." Standing 30 meters tall, the Man of Steel would be bigger than the Angel of the North.

The Man of Steel project will be built as an inspiration mainly because of Sheffield and Rotherham's past success in industry in the last century and in the present and future developments in engineering and new technologies. In a nut shell, the Man of Steel project will be a landmark sculpture for Rotherham and the Sheffield, celebrating Engineering and Sciences for the next generation

We found that young people want the Man of Steel to be there as they see no problems or ethical issues to do with the construction of it. On the other hand a handful of older people wouldn’t want the Man of Steel to be there because they may think it's not the perfect icon to celebrate Sheffield's past success. However some older people may want it because it will remind them of their past, on what good things they did for the city, it will be their own legacy. Another negative is the ethical issue surrounding the Man of Steel project - this is the name given, 'Man of Steel'. Some women feel that the name is sexist and misses the women who worked in industry. They want the name changed.

We both wrote the Man of steel research project together. We made questionnaires about the project, asking people if it will have a positive or a negative effect on the city of Sheffield.

Our visit to Symmetry Medical

During the second week, we went on an offsite visit to Symmetry Medical. That’s where they manufacture orthopaedic implants, surgical instruments, and sterilization cases and trays. Aerospace is also a feature at Symmetry Medical, using high technology to create engine blades featured in Rolls Royce engines. Symmetry Medical is an international company, mass producing metallic products.

After taking a tour around the factories behind the main building, we saw many processes that the products go through and the people who are behind them. They have approximately 2,400 employees worldwide, including a woman who was the health and safety officer, she was the one who actually gave us the tour and gave us information about the company.

The Scientific Weaving Project

We went to the Scientific Weaving launch at Grenoside - there were 7 primary schools involved in science projects. Stalls were set up to convey what the schools were doing in class times and what they were doing for the projects. We interviewed some children around the ages of 9-10 asking what they had learnt and how they benefitted from the whole project.

Getting involved with some projects was fun, as they asked for your contribution or showed us how to do an experiment. The school had also created an animation, which we both thought was brilliant, it was based around VBA (verbal behaviour analysis) which is something which also was incorporated in the schools.

Sheffield Hallam's Flight Simulator

On Thursday morning we took a tour of some engineering workshops located in the Sheaf Building at the Sheffield Hallam city campus. The workshops included robots, a wind tunnel and various other technologies which they use. The simulator is a representation of a real time aircraft (take off, flying and landing) which gives the real pilot experience. The many screens create a virtual landscape to give the 'real-time' feel to the flying.

The simulator moves with your joystick which you use to control the aircraft. We found take off quite easy and actually flying fun as you could do barrel rolls and reach different heights! Although landing posed a challenge, both of us crashed whilst trying to land on the runway, but we did come close. The technician guided us on how to fly the planes and how the simulator actually works.

It was an extremely enjoyable experience, and a good one to sum up our two weeks work experience. We had fun, meeting people and getting opportunities to take part in such activities.

Our time with WiSET

We spent two brilliant and enjoyable weeks in the WiSET team for our work experience from the 1st - 12th July. On the first few days we felt very nervous and scared about settling in to our work experience but as the days went on we both felt more and more in our comfort zone as we grew more confident. We learnt a lot from the two weeks with the WiSET team, such as life skills, working with adults, travelling (we made our own way to Rotherham) and most importantly following instructions.

From all of this we would like to say a great big thank you for organising our work experience and treating us so well! We would also like to thank the people such as Alan Watkins, Frances Robertson, Gary Drabble, Linda Bray, Russell Robinson, Phil Stevenson, Lynne Bianchi and David Owen for making the events we went to possible.

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