Headstart is a summer residential course designed to encourage 17 years olds who have performed particularly well in their GCSE examinations, to consider science or engineering when making their higher education subject choices. It is one of the suite of courses run by the Engineering Development Trust (EDT) and has the backing of professional bodies, major global industries, charitable organisations and the armed forces.
At the University of Birmingham we offer a three-and-a-half day, themed, Headstart course in mid-July, at which students get to attend lectures, take part in hands-on lab projects and go on an industrial visit. Evening events include such things as bowling, a sports evening and an end of course dinner. This year the theme was Power and Energy.
What do I need to be suitable?
The University of Birmingham is an internationally renowned research-intensive university that has been challenging and developing great minds for more than a century. Characterised by a tradition of innovation, research at the University has broken new ground, pushed forward the boundaries of knowledge and made an impact on people’s lives. The Headstart course not only enables you to explore science and engineering and to work with those currently studying the subjects here, but is designed to reflect our beliefs and values and to offer you an opportunity to get a glimpse of what life at our university is like.
This course will suit you if you have a scientific and mathematics background and are interested in applying your skills and knowledge to tackle global problems and challenges. ..
For more information, or to register, get in touch with Headstart directly at: www.etrust.org.uk/headstart/courses
Headstart 2015 will take place from 13-16 July.
Summary of Headstart 2014
Headstart is back! And it’s as good as ever! After a break of a year or two, we decided that we couldn’t get through the academic year without it appearing in our cannon of outreach events any longer. Headstart 2014 at Birmingham was super. The theme of the course was Power and Energy.
In July, twenty-eight seventeen year olds from across the UK, and beyond, joined us in an exploration of the challenges facing our planet in terms of our ever growing energy needs and ways to balance these against the need to protect its dwindling and very precious resources. Through lectures and labs, students were asked to think about the kind of infrastructure that might need to be put in place that not only created a fairer global society, with people everywhere able to access sources of energy, but that did this with super-efficiency and minimal cost to the environment. They threw themselves into projects and listened intently to talks and lectures, well aware that it will be their generation that will have to solve these problems and save the planet.
This was all underpinned by a highly popular visit to Jaguar Land Rover, where such things as fuel efficiency and environmental responsibility are taken very seriously and feed into new product design; and a great presentation by Dr Paul Withey of Rolls-Royce which is always received with enthusiasm and, itself, fuels a plethora of questions.
Rounding off the serious issues raised by the course were the evening events: bowling one night, an evening in the campus' Munrow Sports Centre the next and, finally, the end of course dinner at Hornton Grange at which students received their course certificates.
Well, not quite finally. On the Thursday morning we went for a quick tour of Birmingham city centre, which took in Brindley Place and its wonderful architecture, its canal-side cafes and the pitch-perfect Symphony Hall; New Street and the Bullring (which have both been in existence since the Middle Ages); and then we had our ‘all you can eat’ lunch in the Chinese Quarter, before going our separate ways home. Actually, it was back to work for me.
Thank you all those of you who took part in Headstart, including the speakers and lab providers who dedicated precious time that would normally be spent on their research, to help bring these important issues to the fore in bright young minds. Thanks to the postgraduates, Joe, Emilie and Helen and to Teacher Supervisor, Glynn, who all supervised things so expertly and with great aplomb. But, especially, thank you to the Headstart students who were such a pleasure to have on our campus getting to grips with their roles of being ‘undergraduates’ and looking, I have to say, very plausible.
Feel free to take a look at some photos of the event on Flickr.
Headstart Organiser at Birmingham.