ABM UK Goes Back To School With J.E.E.P. Programme

The Junior Engineering Engagement Programme tackles FM misperceptions in schools for future career paths, and now re-launches after pandemic forces postponement.

ABM UK's JEEP programme being used in a classroom Leading facilities solutions provider ABM has launched year four of its Junior Engineering Engagement Programme (J.E.E.P.) following a yearlong postponement caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The J.E.E.P aims to tackle misperceptions of the facilities management (FM) industry amongst young people and their parents and create a pipeline of future technical talent. It has had over 450 graduates from 23 schools since 2017.

Supported by independent education charity The Talent Foundry, the J.E.E.P. introduces year seven students, aged between 11 and 12, to the world of engineering and FM, bringing apprenticeships to their attention as a valid path to success before they choose their GCSE subjects.

This year ABM UK will take the immersive programme to schools in London, Bradford, Leeds and Birmingham, with sessions running from September to December 2021.

ABM UK director, Adam Baker, says: “Having gained such fantastic momentum with the first three years of the programme, it was incredibly disappointing to have to postpone year four. With young people now back in schools, we can’t wait to welcome our newest cohort to the programme and continue the important work of inspiring the next generation of technical talent.

“The J.E.E.P. initiative works towards a future where the ‘oily rags and no prospects’ perception of FM technical careers and apprenticeships is a distant memory. In reality graduate apprentices are earning between £26,000 and £30,000 just a year after qualifying – usually before they’re 20 years old – and they have no debt.”

Evaluated annually through the use of surveys for all stakeholders, including students, teachers, and volunteers, the J.E.E.P.’s latest results show a 20% increase in student understanding of apprenticeships and a 19% increase in young people seeing apprenticeships as something exciting. When asked for feedback on the success of the programme, a hundred percent of teachers agreed that their students were more interested in learning skills in STEM following their involvement in J.E.E.P.

One student commented: “This programme helped me find my love for STEM. It has helped me think and discover my skills and what I am good at.”

Adam Baker continued: “Seeing feedback like this shows us that the programme is working. Our goal is to change perceptions of apprenticeships and the FM industry across the UK and we’re committed to this for the foreseeable!”

The J.E.E.P. gives students a guided introduction to core FM subjects, such as electricity, lighting and safety, through three classroom sessions. ABM team members attend each session to represent the industry, answer student questions and work with the young people on planned experiments and activities.

During the course, there is a theme of sustainability which is discussed throughout the sessions to build up to the students' final presentation in the final session. The final presentation is where the students will show their peers, teachers and guests from ABM a project they have created with the aim to make their school eco-friendly and sustainable.

Cate Smith, Head of Programmes, at the Talent Foundry says: “The Talent Foundry is delighted to work with ABM on the Junior Engineering Engagement Programme. The programme provides young people with a valuable opportunity to open their eyes to the variety of STEM-based career paths available to them. It’s also helpful that this programme has a particular focus on apprenticeships as students need the chance to learn as much as they can about the different educational routes they can take before they leave secondary school.”

In addition to the course being delivered by ABM and partners in schools, a teacher pack has been developed. This is available to all teachers to download on the J.E.E.P. microsite and Times Education Supplement. Created for easy use in secondary schools, the pack incorporates everything teachers need from experiment guides, equipment lists, presentations and worksheets. These resources are designed to be delivered in schools over four days and have been downloaded by over 1,000 education professionals to date.

A class using ABM UK's JEEP programme at a onsite visit