Caterpillar UK has developed a remarkable system of experiential learning and STEM advocacy within the local community to inspire the next generation of doers and dreamers. Factory Manager Neil Gardiner says, "We are about our people as much as we are about the products we manufacture. It's not a factory full of robots, it's a factory filled with people. It's critical we get the best people here to grow into the leaders of tomorrow."
Each year, over 1000 students of all ages enter the Caterpillar Learning Inspiration Center (CLIC) to receive a hands-on STEM experience. For Learning and Development Apprentice Program Manager, Steve Beighton, the CLIC offers a connection between theory and application. He says, “When we meet new students at any age, we could be changing people's lives and perceptions about the manufacturing industry. It isn't just a visit. We want to get more out of it.” Students can receive a tour of the facility, learn about the products being built, complete engaging STEM activities, and more. Additionally, local engineering schools are given the chance to utilize the CLIC to give students a deeper dive into their chosen field.
In addition to showcasing opportunities in manufacturing and engineering, students visiting the CLIC will learn that manufacturing companies also have opportunities for those interested in business, marketing, human resources and more. Steve says, “By bringing students into the factory, they can see how clean it is and how diverse it is.” Steve also recognizes the impact that inspiring students can have on the trajectory of their lives. Groups come in from schools as well as local organizations that serve kids from disadvantaged backgrounds. He says, “If I can change the life of even one out of every 10 students who come in, I’ve done something well.”
The work continues outside of the facility, as well. Factory Manager Neil Gardiner serves as an Enterprise Advisor, representing the real-world hiring needs of the manufacturing industry and Caterpillar specifically. With his insights, schools adapt their career preparedness syllabus to meet those needs and ensure that students are well-prepared for a career in STEM. In addition to influencing how students are introduced to and prepared for STEM careers, Neil hosts facility visits, job shadowing, training sessions, mock interviews and more. He says, "We are about our people as much as we are about the products we manufacture. It's not a factory full of robots, it's a factory filled with people. It's critical we get the best people here to grow into the leaders of tomorrow." Furthermore, Neil believes in the power of education as an avenue away from unemployment. “Educating the right way at the right time can prevent issues before they occur,” he says.
The impact that Caterpillar’s global team of doers has goes far beyond the iron we build and the customers we serve. If you are ready to build what matters, search and apply today.