Graphic with lots of people creating the shape of a DNA double helix.

New virtual work experience helps young people discover a future in genomics

Date: 21 September 2023

Our interactive, free course, Genomics, Science and Data Careers, aimed to help young people experience the diverse range of career options in these fields.

During the summer holidays, we held our first ever virtual work experience course for 14-18 year olds based in the UK, hosted on a careers platform, Springpod. The interactive free course, entitled Genomics, Science and Data Careers, aimed to help young people experience the diverse range of career options in these fields, and learn about employability skills such as teamwork, communication and interview preparation.

The response we received to our promotional campaign was remarkable. Over 1,450 signed up for the programme, and 607 young people took the time over their summer holidays to achieve at least a Bronze level of course completion.

Graphic with photograph of a diverse range of young people in professional roles.

The course content included engaging videos, interactive quizzes, activities and webinars. Participants also had the opportunity to ask questions to industry professional, thanks to staff from the Wellcome Sanger Institute, and across the Wellcome Genome Campus.

This was the first time that we were able to provide this type of experience for young people nationally, removing financial and geographical barriers that many face when seeking in-person opportunities. We were also able to reach those who don’t have connections to the industry, or who’s parents have not previously studied science, with 31% of participants indicating that they are the first member of their family planning to go to University.

Our virtual work experience course received excellent feedback, with an average rating of 8.4 out of 10. We also saw some impressive increases in their awareness of careers in the industry, how confident they feel about finding a job in the future, and how confident they’d feel about speaking to an industry professional.

Wellcome Connecting Science acknowledges that access to science education and engagement is not equal. As part of the same Wellcome-funded organisation as the Wellcome Sanger Institute, we are committed to raising the aspirations of young people and to encourage them to explore careers in science through our schools engagement programme. In addition to this virtual offer, other initiatives for young people this year have included: Genome Academy, an in-person work experience opportunity, with 18 places available for Year 12 students to attend a 3-day immersive experience on-Campus; a new series of careers videos; and our continued offer of visits to Campus, and visits to schools and colleges in the East of England.

If you’d like to hear about future virtual work experience opportunities, or learn more about our resources and opportunities for learners and educators, you can follow us on Twitter (X)LinkedIn or sign up to our schools and learning newsletter.