Member Profile: Science Starz CIC
Science Starz CIC is an award-winning mobile science lab that delivers hands-on, fun, interactive science programmes in primary schools, community groups, youth clubs, at corporate events and more in order to ignite an interest in STEM from an early age and to increase access into the STEM sector.
Developed by teachers, Science Starz has been delivering programmes for over 5 years so we know how to engage children in STEM and ignite an interest in STEM topics.
Science Starz also creates outreach programmes for STEM industries for delivery in primary schools, matching desired employee skills, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Goals and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in order to bridge the gap between the STEM industry and the education sector.
Name: Elita Frid
Role: Director, Science Starz CIC
Q: What is your business?
Science Starz is a mobile science/STEM lab that delivers hands-on, fun, interactive programmes in primary and nursery schools, at corporate events (eg. Bring your Child to Work day), community groups, birthday parties, festivals and more. We also design programmes for STEM businesses for them to deliver in primary schools in order to bridge the gap between the STEM industry and the education sector. Science Starz is proud to be a Social Enterprise that assists women on the path to employment by offering training and employment opportunities, while helping narrow the STEM gender gap and challenging stereotypes that children often have of what a scientist or engineer looks like.
When Covid struck, we expanded our services to offer at-home STEM kits for children to be able to carry out at home. So we now offer both products and services to our customers.
Q: How did you get into this business? I saw a lack of science and STEM provision in primary schools, and with the STEM skills shortage set to get worse in the next 10 years and research suggesting that many career choices stem from childhood experiences, I felt it was essential that science/STEM provision in primary schools be enhanced.
Q: How many people work for Science Starz? We have a team of 10 staff and volunteers and 4 board members who come from both the education sector and business sector. We also offer work placements and have provided opportunities for students from Belfast Met and SERC.
Q: Who are your customers? We serve a wide range of customers, including schools, corporates, parents, community groups, disability groups and councils. While we have visited scores of schools all over Northern Ireland, we have also provided services for companies such as Farrans & Citi Belfast.
Q: How has business been for you over the past few years? We have been non-stop since we started. It has been so busy and we have been overwhelmed by the interest from all across the board. When we had to stop our face-to-face services, began creating STEM kits. Now that lockdown is easing, we are busier than ever with both our face-to-face services and our STEM kits.
Q: What needs to change in Belfast/NI to allow you (and others) to do better business?
The STEM industry needs to realise that the key to igniting an interest in STEM roles in order to future-proof their companies (and to be able to compete in the global economy) is to start earlier than secondary school. Research shows that if you have not ignited a child’s interest with something by the age of 10 or 11, it is very difficult to do so after. By STEM industries coming on board to work with primary schools, this will be sure to increase uptake at GCSE level and A level, improving the chances that a student will go on to take up a career in STEM. Science Starz is here to assist STEM companies in connecting them with the education sector to make that happen.
Q: Have you any exciting plans for your business over the next 12 months? / What new services are you launching?
We are going to focus our efforts in the next 12 months on partnering with STEM companies (science and engineering, in particular) in order to fulfil our aim of increasing educational attainment in the area of STEM on a larger scale.