Advancing Life & Work

Learn how HPE STEM Week in the United Kingdom and Ireland made STEM careers interesting

HPE STEM Camp in BracknellHPE STEM Camp in Bracknell

Who wants a job in STEM? Well, apparently in the UK, not so many people.

STEM is a term that encompasses Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. Unfortunately, a recent study conducted by STEM Learning, the largest UK provider of education and careers support in STEM, showed that:

  • 89% of STEM businesses find it hard to recruit
  • This costs businesses £1.5bn in recruitment, temporary staffing, inflated salaries and additional training costs
  • Over half of businesses expect the skills shortage to worsen over the next 10 years, even though expansion in the sector means that new STEM roles will double

What is worrying is that this report claimed the barriers for young people entering STEM professions were due to:

  • Low awareness of jobs available
  • Lack of work experience


HPE, United Kingdom and Ireland, STEM WeekHPE, United Kingdom and Ireland, STEM Week

As a large technology company, we at HPE love STEM. Yes, we have techies who are able to read the matrix and engineers that can build replicas of Big Ben out of paper clips but not everyone who works here can do that or needs to be able to do that. As with any business we need an array of skills to be successful, e.g. marketing, supply chain, real estate, communications, finance, strategy and sales, to name a few. We all have one thing in common though – a passion for technology!



We have a responsibility to inspire future generations to explore STEM jobs and so to do this we created HPE STEM week. During the week of 11th June 2018, we met with over 200 students based near our offices in Bracknell, Warrington, Leixlip, London and Erskine to encourage them to consider jobs in STEM fields.

HPE United Kingdom and Ireland STEM weekHPE United Kingdom and Ireland STEM week

Each HPE STEM week day started with a video from our MD, Marc Waters, who explained why STEM is so important. He talked about how technology helps companies become more agile and competitive. He described how HPE’s technology:

  • Helps Aston Martin Redbull be as quick as they are on the track
  • Ensures the best experience for sports fans with our work with Tottenham Hotspur and the Ryder cup
  • Creates movies like Shrek, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon with Dreamworks

HPE STEM Camp in ErskineHPE STEM Camp in Erskine

We followed this by practical experiences for the students to experience STEM in action. We delivered the following activities:

  • Building a blade server – We showed students a blade server, including the component parts, and explained what they are used for. The children were then challenged to put all the parts of a blade together into the blade chassis as quickly as they could. Our technology is so simple that most were able to do this within 30 seconds!
  • Marshmallow challenge – The students were given marshmallows, spaghetti, string and tape and were challenged to make the highest structure they could in a limited time. The tallest structure we had was a whopping 79cm built by a 9 year old!
  • Duke of York iDEA badge awards – The Duke of York launched the iDEA badges as the digital version of the Duke of Edinburgh awards. We set up a load of laptops for the day so students could attempt these activities and win virtual badges in a variety of tech challenges.
  • Retail experience – We set up a demo of what a future retail store so students could see what a shopping experience could look like with the Internet of Things. They loved that the retail screens transposed images of clothes they could buy onto the live footage of themselves so they could see what they would look like with the clothes on!
  • Tours of our offices – For many of our visitors it was the first time that they were in a formal office setting. We showed them where each of our departments sit so they could see that you don’t have to be techies to love technology! The students were also very pleased to see that we had removed plastics from our offices.
  • Million Pound Drop – The school children were given sweets to bet on the answers to STEM questions which followed the format of the popular TV show.
  • Dragon’s Den – we gave the school a brief which was to ask for inventions that would change the world and pitch it to our “dragons” including a full go to market sales plan. My favourite invention was a “robotic lemon picker” that relied on AI and 3D imagery to pick ripe lemons. The winners at Bracknell showcased a fully sustainable coffee cup and in fact my favourite moment was when a 9 year old told off one of our sales directors for walking into the room with a single use coffee cup…
  • Career talks – We also held career talks so students could see our career paths and hopefully build a picture of how their careers may progress

HPE STEM Camp in Dublin, IrelandHPE STEM Camp in Dublin, Ireland

There is something pretty special about meeting with children whose imaginations are limitless and who believe they can achieve anything. Imagine if we can harness that creativity and belief, combine it with some STEM skills and a bit of direction…


Watch this space for our next STEM week. We already have plans to make it bigger and better! Thanks to all the 60 volunteers, especially the leaders of the various sites - Natalia Ellen Atkiss, Clare Plant, Ian Vaughan, Scott McNee and Christine Reale!

If you or someone you know want to get into technology take a look at our careers page for UK and Ireland where we have open positions for internships, apprenticeships and graduates programmes.

UK -

Ireland -

About the writer:

Karandeep Kay, Head of Strategic Projects and PMO at HPE UK&IKarandeep Kay, Head of Strategic Projects and PMO at HPE UK&I
Karandeep Kay is Head of Strategic Projects and PMO at HPE UK&I. She has a passion for encouraging people to work in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). She has worked for HPE for 8 years in a variety of roles including strategy, planning, finance and category management.

Connect with Karandeep on via  LinkedIn and if you are interested in learning more about HPE Culture and job opportunities visit HPE Careers.







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