North Star Science Event with Professor Brian Cox Returns to Inspire South Yorkshire Pupils

Four hundred and ninety students from 48 schools across South Yorkshire are set to take part in the fourth annual North Star Science School, which is designed to inspire the next generation about the wide range of careers in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Maths) subjects. 

Organised by The Work-wise Foundation, a not-for-profit employer-led charity, the event will take place at the Gulliver’s Valley Theme Park in Rotherham on 8th November in partnership with Well North Enterprises. 

Professor Brian Cox CBE, will open the event virtually and give an inspiring talk about the origins of the universe. 

John Barber, CEO of The Work-wise Foundation, said: “Bookings for this event sold out within a week, which is testament to just how keen local schools are to get involved.  The North Star Science School gives young people the chance to get hands-on and work with local businesses through a range of STEAM-related interactive workshops and to learn from some influential speakers from the industry.” 

John adds: “After the phenomenal feedback we received from students and teachers last year, we are really excited about the impact that this interactive event has and how it helps to widen young people’s understanding and awareness of career options and hopefully inspires them to become our scientists and engineers of the future.” 

The Work-wise Foundation has responded to feedback from teachers and students and has increased the number of workshops – with 16 different workshops* for students to choose from. These include uncovering the science of chocolate - exploring why chocolate cools differently on various foods using thermal imaging technology.  Other workshops include making sand moulds by pouring low-temperature alloys, building and controlling a hydraulic crane and learning the science and art of brickmaking. 


STEAM-inspired workshops will be delivered during the North Star Science event by organisations including AESSEAL, AMRC Training Centre, Barratt Developments, CBE+, Esh Group, Forged Solutions, Ibstock, AMETEK Land, UK Atomic Energy Authority and United Cast Bar. Additional workshops, kindly sponsored by Doncaster Council, Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council, and Sheffield City Council, will also be taking place. 

Some of the workshops are co-created by employers working with local school students to design and deliver the sessions. Mrs. Donna Barker, Subject Leader Technology, Newfield School said: “Collaborating with an engineering company like CBE+ provides our students with a better understanding of the world of work and the challenges of working as a team, meeting deadlines and setting achievable objectives. Our students thrive in the working environment and benefit hugely from the shared experiences and knowledge our colleagues bring to the project.”  


The event is part of the Science Summer School national initiative co-founded in 2012 by Professor Brian Cox and Lord Andrew Mawson OBE, with the aim of making the UK the best place in the world to do science and engineering. It is presented in partnership with Well North Enterprises, a social enterprise business led by Lord Mawson. 

Professor Brian Cox, Britain’s leading physicist and science communicator and Co-Founder of Science Summer School, says: An interest in science at a young age can develop into an exciting and rewarding career.  With all the challenges our climate faces, we need scientists and engineers more than ever to make a brighter future for everyone. 

I am looking forward to speaking to South Yorkshire pupils at the North Star Science event and to bring them up to date with some exciting developments.” 


Professor Cox will be joined by North Star speakers Ruth Amos, former Young Engineer for Britain, entrepreneur, and STEM Ambassador, along with Alex Gardner, event host and Managing Director of Smile Business Support. Other speakers include Melanie Oldham OBE, Founder of Bob’s Business and Director of Yorkshire Cyber Security Cluster, and Professor Simon Goodwin, Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Sheffield.  

In addition, a special presentation by Lord Andrew Mawson with a focus on maritime careers will be presented from the Cunard liner, named Queen Elizabeth, as she cruises through the Mediterranean en route to Australia, using the Starlink satellite system created by SpaceX founder Elon Musk. 

Lord Andrew Mawson said: “North Star Science School continues to act as a tremendous catalyst in South Yorkshire and beyond, helping to bring business, education, health, public sector and community together in a spirit of ‘Learning by Doing’ to inspire our scientists and engineers of the future.” 

Marie Cooper, Managing Director of sponsor company CBE+ explains: “North Star is such an innovative and exciting event in the region which CBE+ are honoured to sponsor. As part of the year-round programme, we’ve been working with Newfield School on a co-created workshop for the second year running, and it has been a brilliant opportunity for our team to work with their students to build a solid and long-lasting relationship. The work that The Work-wise Foundation do to bring employers and educators together as part of this event and the wider programme is incredible and a real testament to the region”  

Following the day’s activities, there will be an evening event where businesses will come together to celebrate the achievements of the North Star programme and hear about the exciting developments planned for Skills Street providing even more opportunities for the region's young people. 


North Star 2023 is made possible through support and funding provided by local businesses and authorities.  This year’s sponsors include AESSeal, AMETEK Land, AMRC Training Centre, Barratt Developments Plc, CBE+, Doncaster Council, Esh Group, Forged Solutions Group, Gulliver’s, Ibstock Plc, Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council, Sheffield City Council, UK Atomic Energy Authority and United Cast Bar in collaboration with Cast Metals Federation. 

For more details about the event visit 


Marina Wood or Courtney Chandler: / 



Founded in 2011 as an employer-led initiative for engineering, manufacturing and other related sectors. The organisation supports the development of young people, so they have the knowledge, skills, aptitude and opportunities for employment within the Sheffield City Region.  

Through The Foundation, which became a registered charity in 2014, the private sector is practically and strategically taking the lead in helping to prepare young people for employment and careers. To achieve this, The Work-wise Foundation helps employers to establish links with young people, develop strategies and programmes and delivers training and practical guidance to make it happen.  


Now, annually the team delivers more than 10,000 work-related experiences for young people in South Yorkshire through a wide range of programmes. These include the North Star Science School, Summer Academy, What Employers Want Conferences, primary and secondary STEMfest days, educational programmes based around Vulcan to the Sky Trust, sector routeways into engineering and manufacturing and its flagship event, Get up to Speed with STEM. [E7] 


*As part of NorthStar Science event, local businesses and schools will be working in partnership on several workshop challenges. 

This includes: 

  • AMETEK Land with Sheffield Girls High School 
  • Barratt Developments Plc with Brinsworth Academy 
  • CBE+ with Newfield Secondary School 
  • CPH2 with Ridgewood School 
  • Forged Solutions Group with Don Valley Oasis Academy 
  • Ibstock Plc with Wales High School 
  • UK Atomic Energy Authority with Sheffield Park Academy 
  • VolkerRail with Hayfield School   
  • Vulcan to the Sky Trust with Doncaster UTC 

The Work-wise Foundation  


Science Summer School 

The Science Summer School programme started life in 2012 in a failing East London secondary school.  It was co-founded by Professor Brian Cox CBE and Lord Andrew Mawson OBE following Andrew’s leadership in the regeneration of a street in Tower Hamlets in East London. This brought together a new £16m health centre, the £40m St Paul’s Way Trust School, 600 homes, a new primary school and two formerly warring communities into the first integrated campus of its kind in the country.   

St Paul’s Way Trust School has placed science at the heart of the school curriculum and a process of learning by doing is encouraged.  From being a school without a sixth form, the school saw 66% of sixth-form students progress to Elite Russell Group Universities in 2020. 

The Science Summer School has been a catalyst for change both in school, raising student aspiration and achievement, and in the local community illustrating the connective power of STEAM in bringing a joined-up entrepreneurial approach to placemaking.