In 2015 the Ferndown based engineering company Superior established the first of its kind corporate fund to specifically support young people in STEM education in Dorset.
By working with the Foundation the local responsible company is channelling their charitable giving to where it is needed most at local level – supporting students from disadvantaged backgrounds (in care or care leaver; in receipt of income support; have caring responsibilities for other members of their family; live on a family income of less than £21,000; disabled young people) who are less likely to access or continue their STEM education due to financial constraints associated with fees for equipment, course fees and cost of special clothing, travel or accommodation.
Bursary recipient Elizabeth is one of the young people the Superior STEM Fund supported last year.
The ambitious student has battled difficult personal circumstances and various disabilities including a visual processing disorder to access an Applied Science course at Bournemouth & Poole College with the determination to ultimately gain a Degree in Bio-Medical Science in order to work in research.
Elizabeth was classed as ‘homeless’ and a ‘vulnerable’ young person by Government agencies prior to moving in with her grandparent on a temporary basis. Initially, she became estranged from her mother who lives in Gloucestershire and although she tried to live with her father in North Dorset, his one bedroomed home was too cramped.
Despite the difficulties Elizabeth achieved good GCSE results (including a double distinction in Level 2 BTEC Applied Science) and registered at a College in North Dorset in 2014-15. Sadly, she failed to complete her course due to the complex living arrangements but with the support of both her previous College and the Bournemouth & Poole College she enrolled onto a Level 3 BTEC Extended Diploma in Applied Science at the new Poole campus.
The bursary she received from the Foundation on behalf of Superior in 2015 contributed towards her rent at the College’s approved accommodation – Homestay, which offers students a safe and supportive environment, enabling Elizabeth to focus on her education.
Elizabeth’s difficult learning conditions and disabilities did not stop this bright and ambitious student on her STEM research career path.
Mark Wallis, Commercial Director at Superior was involved in the grant making process. On behalf of his company, Mark had the pleasure of supporting another four local young people in STEM education along with Elizabeth.
Through Superior’s targeted and impactful corporate giving and the grant making knowledge and expertise of the Foundation five young people now have the opportunity to reach their full potential by accessing or continuing their STEM education.
To find out more about corporate giving click here.