Inspiring the next generation of quantum engineers and scientists
Earlier this year, KETS had the pleasure of hosting five brilliant high school students for a week-long, semi-remote work experience – Emily, Khai, Orla, Moiz and Ashwin – focussing on quantum technologies and innovation. Throughout the week, the students were introduced to the broader quantum industry and businesses through independent research projects, talks from external speakers and workshops from members of the KETS team.
The students were drawn to the work experience week for a range of reasons but a common thread was an underlying enthusiasm for STEM subjects and an interest in quantum mechanics, quantum technologies and the organisations that create them – ‘topics that are very interesting but not something you usually hear about at school’ Moiz pointed out.
‘The work experience week offered an opportunity to explore KETS’ quantum technology, whilst also getting to know the team behind it.’ – Ashwin
Professor Anthony Laing, Co-Director of the Quantum Engineering Technology Labs (QETLabs) at the University of Bristol, offered his perspective on his unique journey into academia, his research in quantum computing and some recent experiments. His talk struck a chord with Moiz: ‘One of the most interesting things I learnt was that it’s actually possible to send a qubit back in time.’
‘I learnt a lot from hearing people’s stories of working in STEM – the skills they needed, the sacrifices they made, the different journeys people took, and what it might be like to work in different jobs.’ – Khai
Alongside the science, topics relating to the commercialisation of quantum technologies were explored – one of these being ethical product design. Sophie Adams-Foster, the Business and Strategy Director at Realise Product Design, discussed important considerations companies must make when developing new products including sustainable supply chains and the potential harm a product can cause.
‘It was really exciting to learn so much from people who work in developing quantum technology. Everyone was so welcoming and friendly which was really nice.’ – Emily
Entrepreneurship was another theme at the heart of quantum commercialisation that Dr Andy Collins from the Quantum Technology Enterprise Centre (QTEC) delved into. Drawing on his experiences at QTEC, which has fostered the creation of 27 quantum companies (including KETS!) since 2016, he spoke about what it takes to build a quantum company from the ground up from cutting edge research.
‘What I enjoyed most was learning about the business side of starting and running a quantum technology company, all the way to looking in detail at how some of the technologies work.’ – Moiz
A highlight of the week for Emily and Orla was visiting KETS’ offices and lab. ‘I particularly enjoyed learning about all the equipment and setups in the lab’ and ‘having the innovative and forward-thinking tech KETS is building explained was really interesting.’
‘Hearing people’s stories of working in STEM – the skills they needed, the sacrifices they made, the different journeys people took, and what it might be like to work in different jobs – has left me with a much better understanding of what choices I want to make in the future’ – Khai
Thinking broadly about career skills, Lorraine and Habiba – Senior Operations Officer and Business Operations Coordinator – shared valuable tips for boosting employability, networking and interviewing. Our Senior Software Engineer, Richard showed that it’s possible to develop technical skills like coding and electronic engineering without needing a lab with relatively accessible and inexpensive kit for projects you can do at home.
‘The work experience week at KETS has been a defining experience in my educational journey and a highlight of the summer. The week has given me a unique perspective of STEM and business and has inspired me to explore quantum physics further – I am keen to work in the field in the future!’ – Ashwin
The week concluded with the students delivering two fantastic group presentations that pulled together everything they had learnt throughout the week on quantum technologies and the businesses that develop them.
We were thrilled to have been able to host Emily, Khai, Orla, Moiz and Ashwin and pleased that both the students and KETS’ team gained so much from the week – they will always be part of KETS’ family of alumni and they’ll have a hoodie to prove it! We are excited to see what the future holds for them and look forward to hosting more inspiring young people next year. – Caroline Clark
If you are interested in working with us please drop us an email outlining your interests and relevant skills at firstname.lastname@example.org