Justine Greening visited Imperial's White City Campus to learn about how the College is working with the local community.
The Rt Hon Justine Greening, former Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women and Equalities was hosted by Professor Maggie Dallman, Vice-President (International), Associate Provost (Academic Partnerships) at White City Campus to see first hand the work Imperial is undertaking in relation to outreach and engagement, as well as other innovative work on Campus and the wider innovation district.
Inclusive innovation ecosystem
Ms Greening met with members of the College’s Outreach and Community Engagement team at The Invention Rooms, the College’s dedicated space for innovation and the local community. Ms Greening heard about how the College’s community engagement programme at White City has developed over the last 5 years and how the teams’ focus for engagement is on STEM opportunities.
Ms Greening had the opportunity to visit the Dangoor Reach Out Makerspace, an education centre where young people from the local community can learn new skills in STEM subjects, with guidance from Imperial mentors. The programme has welcomed hundreds of young people – equipping them with the skills to take advantage of the new opportunities for careers in science and tech.
Ms Greening met with recent Maker Challenge graduates, who were working on building a fast-moving elastic band car using laser-cut materials, elastic bands and motors. They also discussed the benefits of being part of the Maker Challenge programme. The Makerspace team recently launched a book and resource box to ship out to schools to develop and implement their own making and prototyping activities.
The group continued to the north site and visited the Translation and Innovation Hub (I-HUB) to see aerial views of how the Campus is developing. Mr Graham Hewson, Head of Incubation at White City Incubator, gave an overview of the ground-breaking work that is taking place in the Hub, and explained how the College is supporting knowledge-intensive companies and the commercialisation of scientific research, by providing a collaborative workspace for businesses to work directly alongside academics.
The visit concluded with a visit to Scale Space, a new community where innovative businesses can scale up their operations by giving them access to the resources needed to grow.
Ms Greening had the opportunity to visit the new labs and offices of Puraffinity, a White City Campus based start-up who have recently moved from the Incubator to Scale Space, to accelerate their growth. Puraffinity are a green technology company focussed on designing smart materials for environmental applications. They have been part of Imperial’s entrepreneurial ecosystem for the past six years, participating in several Imperial Entrepreneurship programmes including the Venture Catalyst Challenge and WE Innovate.
Since leaving Parliament, Ms Greening has co-founded This is Purpose, a consultancy that advises organisations on putting social mobility at the centre of their work. Their first campaign, the Social Mobility Pledge, aims to drive social mobility across all sectors of society and has been backed by a coalition of businesses, universities and NHS Trusts.
Professor Maggie Dallman said "Our engagement work at White City is strongly aligned with the goals of the Social Mobility Pledge and levelling up goals led by Justine Greening. We are committed to making a positive impact in White City by working in partnership with the local community to create new opportunities, unleash local talent and make a difference in areas such as education, employment, enterprise and health. I'm really pleased that Ms Greening was able to see that first-hand today.”
Maker Challenge Programme open - apply now!
The Maker Challenge is an 11-week programme where young people aged 14-18 year olds learn how to design, make and prototype. Throughout the programme, students learn a range of skills from use of 3D printers and laser cutters to product development, team building, and presentation and communication skills to help turn their innovative ideas into reality. The Maker Challenge is currently open for applications until Sunday 24 April. The programme involves a weekly workshop at the Dangoor Reach Out Makerspace from 30 April-16 July. For more information or to apply, visit the Makerspace website.
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