More than 40 Scottish pupils are taking part in a virtual work experience programme hosted by the University of Dundee this week.
The university’s School of Life Sciences hosts the annual event for local Year 12 and 13 students (S5–6), giving them the chance to experience and experiment with potential career opportunities in the field before progressing to higher education.
This year’s event will be delivered online for the first time ever, and has also been adapted to include the School of Medicine and introduce pupils to university-level science and research.
The programme has been redesigned to echo traditional work experience delivered in a virtual realm – including virtual lab tours, scientific experiments and data analysis, live workshops, career stories and more.
Talks from some of the university’s leading scientists will introduce students to Dundee’s vast research portfolio, providing first-hand insight of the opportunities they will have access to later down the line.
“Many pupils are unfamiliar with the wide range of careers involved in life sciences research and think that studying science is only worthwhile if you want to be a doctor. Life science is a huge field of study and we hope this week will allow pupils to see that,” said Erin Hardee, schools outreach organiser at the School of Life Sciences.
“Virtual tours of labs and engaging presentations, online workshops, bioinformatics activities and interactive group sessions with researchers will give students a well-rounded idea of the career opportunities open to them. Our overall goal is that they leave with a renewed interest in science,” added Hardee.
“Running online has allowed us to reach more pupils and expand our range. We have pupils from all over Scotland signed up, which will hopefully help Dundee’s reputation grow.”
Dr. Chris Henstridge from the School of Medicine stated: “We have a rich and diverse research environment at the School of Medicine, with a vast array of expertise covering all aspects of human health and disease.
“Some of our researchers will discuss their work and why they love being a scientist, or what inspired them to become one. Our diverse range of research staff will give students the chance to find out what it’s really like to work in a medical research laboratory.
“This is a great opportunity to showcase the exciting opportunities of a career in medicine and medical research and we look forward to welcoming pupils to the school.”
The university’s work experience week has been running since 2017, but this year, more than double the usual number of students will take part via the digital portal. Dundee City Council has also pledged to support disadvantaged local pupils who don’t have access to a suitable laptop or computer.