University of Southampton is growing its support to encourage more young people into physics
The University of Southampton is proud to have recently joined the Planet Possibility consortium. Working with partners that include the University of Birmingham, the Blair project, Future First and All About Group, the consortium aims to improve the diversity of people learning, researching and working in the field of physics.
Negative perceptions held by young people toward the topic of physics and a lack of relatable role models are key issues that need addressing to help generate interest and nurture talent. The Institute of Physics has provided the consortium with £1.9m from its IoP Challenge Fund to help deliver a new digital platform and coordinated programme of activity to support the initiative in encouraging and developing talent into physics related careers.
The University of Southampton is offering bespoke, one-to-one support to neurodiverse physics and astronomy undergraduates in finding placement opportunities tailored to their specific needs. This includes adapting work patterns and skills required for the placement, as well as tailored support in locating placements in specific industries. They are also running a series of workshops that will address industry skills gaps and better place graduates on the jobs market.
All partners involved, from consortium members to industry placement hosts, will build their experience in diversity and inclusion, whilst engaging and inspiring young people with STEM subjects and careers.
‘The challenges that the neurodiverse community in Physics face are not in any way negligible. Engaging in placement activities with industry, in a fast-paced commercial setting which, while helping to address many skills gaps, is not often an activity that the community wants to, or feels able to engage with. Working as part of a consortium through Planet Possibility to embrace challenges at many different levels, and to share skills and expertise that each partner brings respectively to the table, will go a long way in changing current mind-sets, facilitating access to opportunities, free of barriers and ensuring that inclusivity is very firmly placed on the Physics agenda.’