Today’s blog article has kindly been provided by IP Inclusive Charter signatory Beck Greener and is about their project to encourage young people to consider a career in the STEM sectors.  Beck Greener have been shortlisted for an award for this project.James Stones and Catherine Jewell of Beck Greener write:

“Here at Beck Greener, we are delighted to announce that we have been shortlisted for the Heart of the City Award in this year’s Lord Mayor’s Dragon Awards, for our “STEM: Branching Out” project.The aims of the project are very much in line with the good work that CIPA and IP Inclusive are doing to raise awareness of the profession among young people, and include inspiring and encouraging young people to consider a career in the STEM sectors, including the patent profession.   We hope in particular to reach students from sections of the community that are currently under-represented in STEM careers generally, and the IP profession in particular, thereby improving diversity and social mobility in these sectors.

​Organised by the City of London, the Lord Mayor’s Dragon Awards recognise excellence in companies’ Corporate Community Involvement that benefits Greater London.  The Heart of the City Award in particular recognises businesses that have set up a strategic approach to community engagement for the first time in the last three years.

Launched in June last year, the Beck Greener “STEM: Branching Out” project is a new initiative within the Community aspect of our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Programme.  The project involves a variety of activities aimed at promoting careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and raising the profile of the IP profession, while also providing our staff with opportunities to develop their skills in areas such as communication, leadership, presentation, and project-management.

The feedback we have received from our STEM Ambassadors and the students we have taken on for paid work experience has all been very positive indeed, with most people reporting improvements in leadership, communication and project management skills, etc.
In the first stage of the project, we joined the STEM Ambassadors Programme, run by the National STEM Learning Centre and Network.  The goal of the Network is to provide enrichment opportunities to inspire young people to engage more with and consider careers involving STEM.  The role of the STEM Ambassadors is to help teachers and other educators achieve this goal, for example by mentoring students and participating in STEM clubs and careers events.  In the first 10 months, 75% of our eligible fee-earners became STEM Ambassadors and attended 12 events, reaching over 1200 students from Years 3 to 12.
We have also introduced a pro bono scheme where patent attorneys at Beck Greener will work with students to prepare and file UK patent applications for potential inventions coming out of school science projects.  The first application is on course for filing after the student-inventor’s exams in June 2017.
In addition, we provide paid work experience to IT students on industrial placement, as part of their degree course.  Our first student joined us in January 2016 and we welcomed our second student in September.
In the second stage of the project, two A-level students with an interest in science and law will join us in July this year for a week’s work experience to learn more about IP and protecting inventions.  The third stage of the project will involve university students joining us as paid interns during the summer holidays.
The winners of the Lord Mayor’s Dragon Awards will be announced in a ceremony to be held in September at the Mansion House, London, and we are absolutely delighted to be shortlisted.  The Awards are a great way to promote community engagement in London and we are thrilled that all the hard work that has gone into our “STEM: Branching Out” project has been recognised by the nomination of the firm as a finalist.
The Awards were the first of their kind in the UK, and remain the only London-wide scheme that recognises Corporate Community Involvement.  Since the first Awards, over 130 Dragon Awards have been given to companies ranging from small local enterprises, to large multi-national businesses. ​Winners of Lord Mayor’s Dragon Awards receive a highly coveted Dragon Statuette.  The name and the Award statuettes are based on the dragons that have guarded the gates to the City of London for centuries.  These dragons can also be found on the City of London’s coat of arms.”

Thanks to Catherine and James for telling us about this great project, and congratulations from IP Inclusive!

If your organisation is involved in outreach or is taking steps to improve diversity in the IP professions, we’d like to hear from you.  Please contact Emily Teesdale of Abel & Imray for more information.  

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