Updated: Oct 27, 2020
Bright and early on Wednesday 14th March 2018, teams of excited S2 pupils from Ayrshire schools gathered at Dumfries House for the Go4SET McAdam Hub Celebration and Assessment Day. Named after Ayrshire-born inventor John Loudon McAdam, this hub celebrated the achievements of local young people who had spent the past ten weeks working on their own innovative STEM solutions to real-life challenges. We had a fantastic day, with the team from Auchinleck Academy awarded the trophy for Overall Best Project. The team will now get a chance to showcase their project alongside other regional winners at the Scottish National Final in Glasgow on the 6th of June.
A panel of industry experts acted as Volunteer Assessors for the competition, including Anna Jamieson from GSK, Chris Hepburn from Precision Engineering and Gwenyth Blair from Kier. Our youngest assessor James Ross, also from GSK, turned out to be a member of the Go4SET Alumni!
10 years on from his participation in Go4SET, James, an ex-pupil from Calderglen High School, East Kilbride- still remembers his project which was called Eco-Hotel and involved designing a renewable and sustainable building.
“We designed several cost saving and green aspects of a new hotel,” James explained. “As part of this we thought about the location of the building what the windows were like, we had a big black wall in the main part of the hotel to catch the sun and heat the hotel with water pipes behind it. We also looked at solar panels, wind generation, biogas from waste, and electric cars for guests while they stayed at the hotel.”
Like all members of a Go4SET team, James had his own important role to play: he was responsible for the report writing and research. “The hardest part of this was the organisation, though we came together as a team and worked really hard, teamwork was by far the biggest skill I learnt from my experience.”
James had always wanted to work in science ever since he was a child; "the kind of job I wanted to do kept changing though, even up until I left high school! it was great to do a project like Go4SET as it opened me up to different jobs and industries that I might not have thought of, specifically the sciences involved in renewables like classic engineering all the way to biochemistry and microbiology."
After finishing school James joined GSK as a Process Chemist Apprentice, which involved developing the running strategies and improving performance of products to make them more cost effective. James stayed at GSK and now works as an Associate Scientist working on strategies for the smooth running of the fermentation process.
We asked James what advice he would offer to current Go4SET students from his own experiences.
“The biggest advice I can give to students doing Go4SET is to keep up the enthusiasm and drive to complete projects like these. There’s nothing better to an employer than someone that can show that they are driven, work well in a team and are good at problem solving. keep your options open and jump at opportunities that come up, it’s too easy to get your mind set on something like going to university and that can sometimes blind you to other opportunities.”
James is currently in his final year of his BSc degree in Pharmaceutical Science and is “looking forward to working towards becoming a biochemist and microbiologist.”
We wish James the best of luck with his future career in STEM and look forward to welcoming him back as an Assessor or Mentor soon!