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Bosch’s Engineering Footprint

What does it mean to be a STEM Ambassador?

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As the STEM Ambassador programme approaches its one year anniversary, we talk to Barrie Flemming, Senior Sales Engineer about what he gets from volunteering as part of the network.

Barrie, what is your role at Bosch?

I am a Senior Sales Engineer for the Powertrain Solutions division. Since 2009, I have been working in the JLR team where I have been directly involved in sales of injectors, fuel rails, high pressure pumps, throttle bodies, engine and exhaust sensors and other products.

Have you always been passionate about cars?

You could say that, yes… On leaving school at 16, I started my career by doing a traditional Engineering apprenticeship with Lucas CAV, a car component supplier. I was always interested in engineering, but university wasn’t for me… The apprenticeship really helped me as a foundation. By 1994, I had progressed to become a technical trainer where I developed a number of training courses for vehicle technicians. I joined Bosch in 2003 as Product Marketing Manager for test equipment in the Automotive Aftermarket division.

Why did you become a STEM Ambassador?

Since I didn’t take a traditional route into a STEM career, I think it’s really important to inspire students from a young age and show them the opportunities that exist. When I first heard about the STEM Ambassadors Programme initiative, I jumped at the chance of being able to share my experience and knowledge from working in a STEM industry to young people.

Barrie Flemming (right) and fellow STEM Ambassadors at St Michael’s Catholic School

What about the STEM skills shortage in the UK… Did that motivate you to get involved too?

Definitely. As the associates of a global engineering and technology organisation, I think we should all strive to encourage young people to study worthwhile STEM subjects and bridge the gap between education and employment. Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths can open many doors and provide practical opportunities. I am especially keen to promote apprenticeships too as a gateway to STEM careers, rather than just the university route.

How do you manage your time between your day job and promoting STEM as an Ambassador?

Well, there is definitely a lot of time management involved but the rewards of benefiting students’ learning and potentially impacting their career choices is my personal motivation. It’s also really overwhelming to see the high number of Bosch associates who want to get involved with STEM activities and who are prepared to give up their time to do it.

“ It’s also really overwhelming to see the high number of Bosch associates who want to get involved with STEM activities and who are prepared to give up their time to do it. ”

Barrie Flemming

Are you taking part in any STEM activity at the moment?

For the last 3 months, I have been organising a slightly adapted version of the Bosch Smart Future Challenge with a school in Coventry. The basis of the challenge is that students partake in a research and development project based on current Bosch topics including smart mobility, smart home and smart retail. Ten other STEM Ambassadors and I have been attending the WMG Academy regularly and mentoring the Year 10’s to pitch their final presentations to Bosch senior associates in May. We will hopefully be able to offer some wow-factor prizes too, including a tour at the BEG office technology park as well as a plant visit to Worcester, where we can really inspire the students with practical demonstrations.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Like many of us, young people struggle to know exactly what they want to do with their careers. It’s up to us, as their peers, to open their horizons to enable them to make the right career decisions for themselves.

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