BBC science star to open Preston’s College iSTEM Centre

Technology reporter and BBC TV presenter, Maggie Philbin, will open £13m iSTEM Centre at Preston’s College

Well-known for her work on shows such as BBC1’s Bang Goes The Theory and Tomorrow’s World, and as CEO of TeenTech, Maggie will join leading employers from across the region together with special guests, students and local schools to mark the launch of the revolutionary iSTEM Centre (innovation & Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) at Preston’s College. 

The new curriculum sets out to make students the most employable they can be by equipping them with the skills required by industry, as well as delivering nationally-recognised qualifications. 

Maggie will share her passion for STEM and deliver a keynote speech on why education providers must follow in the footsteps of Preston’s College; equipping students with the sector-specific skills that employers actually want and need to address the growing skills shortage in STEM-orientated sectors. 

Maggie Philbin

As one of the largest facilities of its kind in the UK, the state-of-the-art iSTEM Centre features the latest industry standard equipment, including CNC machines for Advanced Manufacturing, 3D printers for rapid prototyping and design, a six-seater twin engine aircraft for Aeronautical Engineering, as well as a NASA-developed AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill for Health provision. 

Maggie Philbin, said: “It’s encouraging to see Preston’s College taking steps to bridge the skills gap created by an ageing workforce. They’re enabling more young people, especially girls, to pursue STEM-related paths and helping students understand how they can shape and develop the world. 

“It’s so important to give students the opportunity to not only to develop skills which are in real demand by our fast changing industries, but to recognise the personal qualities such as teamwork, creativity and attention to detail, which would make them terrific engineers, scientists or digital entrepreneurs. 

“People know me from Tomorrow’s World and I’m always keen to meet like-minded colleges, schools and employers with a united vision towards championing STEM. Whilst not everyone may be as bold as Preston’s College, I hope they’re inspired in some way during the launch event.” 

Preston’s College

Lis Smith, principal and chief executive of Preston’s College, added: “After more than two years of hard work it’s great to see our vision finally come to life and our official opening event is the ideal opportunity to share our focus for iSTEM delivery. 

“Almost 1.3 million highly-trained scientists, engineers and technicians are needed in Britain by 2020 and it’s our mission to ensure we help towards meeting that figure. The traditional education system can let young people down by failing to equip them with the skills needed to secure a good job once they leave college or university. 

“At Preston’s College we take great pride in supporting all of our learners to achieve the qualifications they need, alongside the development of the technical skills and knowledge that employers and universities are looking for, and the iSTEM Centre is a critical part in making that happen. Our new curriculum, which puts STEM skills at its core, has been designed to meet the needs of the modern workforce and will enable us to become the leading provider of STEM education in the north of England within the next three years – ultimately helping to make our learners the most employable. 

“We are also extremely privileged to welcome Maggie Philbin, whose passion for STEM aligns perfectly with the values and ethos at Preston’s College.”