Meet the Scholarship Judges: Mike Ridler
Posted on Thursday May 13, 2021
The Millennium Point Scholarship is an annual competition in partnership with Birmingham City University which awards a fully funded undergraduate degree at the faculty of Computing, Engineering, and the Built Environment. Now in its seventh year, we look at the STEM leaders behind this year’s judging panel.
Mike is Head of Business Development and education at Learn By Design, working in over 1,500 schools every year in outreach education: drop-down days and activities such as after-school clubs, with the vast majority having a STEM feel.
Mike is himself a STEM graduate (Chemistry and Sport Science) and has worked in STEM outreach and STEM education for around 20 years; he is also a qualified secondary science teacher.
He says: “I believe STEM’s really important to the region, both Birmingham and the Midlands as a whole; so much industry in the region has a STEM feel, from aeronautical to automotive, to new and emerging industries such as AI and gaming.
“There are so may jobs in STEM, that I believe it’s crucial for the prosperity and growth of both Birmingham and the Midlands, and it also offers so much opportunity to young people to have great careers, well-paid jobs and to travel; it’s the backbone of innovation which will drive our economy forward.”
He adds: “I think the scholarship is absolutely fantastic; it gives someone the opportunity to perhaps follow an education in STEM at graduate level which they may not otherwise have been able to do; there are, unfortunately, barriers to getting into higher education, and one of those is funding and being able to afford it. The scholarship offers someone the chance to pursue a lifelong passion and to have a fantastic career out of the back end of it.
“There is such a great need for promoting careers in STEM, and this plugs one small hole, but at least it gives someone the opportunity who might not have had it before.”
In terms of what he’s looking for from the finalists, Mike wants to see pure enthusiasm and a passion for STEM; a level of understanding and commitment: “I want to be sure that they’re actually going to see the course through,” he explains.
“I also want to learn more about the candidates in terms of what they hope to give back to the wider STEM community – do they do any outreach work, any volunteering, or do they have plans to – and I’d be really interested to know their future career ambitions – whether they want to go into the likes of research, engineering, innovation, AI.
“As much as we can as judges, I’d like to get to know them as people; what drives them, and why they’ve chosen a STEM subject, and why they needed or wanted to apply for the scholarship.”
For more information on the scholarship competition, or how to apply, please visit www.millenniumpoint.org.uk/scholarship
Find more interesting content from Millennium Point over at our news section, or follow us for daily updates on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn with @MillenniumPoint. Millennium Point is a landmark public building and multi-award-winning events venue in the Eastside of Birmingham City centre. Profits from our commercial activity are invested by the Millennium Point Charitable Trust into projects, events and initiatives which support the growth of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) and education in the West Midlands.