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Local Charity and Business Education Partnership links with CERN in Geneva

On Thursday 9th December, local charity and business education partnership School Employer Connections hosted a fascinating interactive exploration of the CERN Institute in Geneva by connecting via Zoom with two of its physicists, Dr Marcella Bona and Muhammad Alhroob, for an immersive information sharing session followed by a Q&A from the attending NI students.

Participants at the virtual event were taken down into the inner workings of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) via Muhammad’s camera feed while his colleague Dr Bona explained the mysteries of the incredible facility, which is located 100 metres below ground level.

CERN (The European Organisation for Nuclear Research) was established in 1954 in Switzerland to advance collaboration in scientific research into the fundamental building blocks of the physical universe. Its famous Large Hadron Collider (LHC) first started operating in September 2008. It receives thousands of visitors annually, including a large number of UK schools. The discovery of the Higgs boson particle in July 2012 is one of its many notable scientific breakthroughs. It is also considered to be the birthplace of the World Wide Web.

“Thank you to CERN for allowing our students to learn at an international level and to engage with some of the world’s finest physicists and academics whilst also having a bird’s-eye view of engineering at the cutting edge,” said SEC class programme and events programme manager Vivienne Kerr, the organiser and host of the virtual event. “School Employer Connections are delighted to make it possible for our students to engage with employers at all levels and get an insight into the ‘real’ world of work that textbooks are unable to do”.

Dr Bona complimented the virtual event, saying that “she was absolutely delighted to be speaking to NI students from the CERN Institute”.

School Employer Connections (SEC) is a registered charity set up by business leaders in 1999 to establish meaningful connections between schools and employers so that employers could play a part in preparing students for the world of work.

Covid-19 has had a detrimental effect on all, no more so than on the young. SEC took the opportunity during lockdown to review and refresh how it prepares students for the world of work.

Staff and volunteers worked virtually, so it was decided to look at how a virtual portal could be used to ensure that young people could still experience a vibrant and inclusive virtual work experience.

The Virtual Class Programme links employers and schools without either having to leave their sites. Employers can provide schools with their expertise from the comfort of their own office and without having to waste valuable working time. Students are able to ask questions and speak to an employer freely in the safety and comfort of their classroom.

School Employer Connections manager, Owen Crozier, stated that “SEC are delighted to assist young people become better prepared for the world of work by connecting them with employers, gaining valuable insights into business, improving their learning and knowledge, helping them to make important career path decisions”.

For further information on the work of School Employer Connections, contact [email protected]