British Science Week Case Study - #SmashingStereotypes

It's British Science Week and this year's theme is #SmashingStereotypes so the team behind the campaign are challenging what people think of when they imagine a scientist.


If you picture someone in a lab coat, goggles and conical flasks, or a white man with grey hair, who resembles Albert Einstein, you aren’t alone, but it’s something that needs to actively change!


Science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) sectors are much more diverse than this stereotype suggests. There are people working in labs, at universities, in innovation centres, in businesses and out on construction sites, who come from so many different backgrounds, and who have taken lots of different routes into their careers. Not only that, the jobs people do and the ways that they work as a scientist are so broad – we could never list them all!


In celebration of British Science Week, we wanted to share with you the story of Tracy, who was Highly Commended in the recent Ron Simmonds Trade Apprentice of the Year Award here in Plymouth.

Tracy Perkin’s received this year’s highly commended in the Ron Simmonds Trade Apprentice of the Year Award. She started her Level 3 Gas Engineering apprenticeship with LiveWest Homes and Focus Training in December 2019.


This has been an exciting career change for mature student Tracy. After working for several years at a plumber’s merchant, she decided to start over and begin an apprenticeship as a gas engineer. Tracy is employed by LiveWest where 80% of her time is spent on the job, which has been incredibly challenging throughout the pandemic. Sales Manager, Drew Tombs commented, ‘Tracy faced the additional safety measures professionally and put herself forward for visits to vulnerable customers homes where there were suspected cases of Covid’.


One LiveWest customer exclaimed, ‘It’s fantastic to see a lady working in a traditionally male role. She was extremely friendly, professional and competent at her job’.


Her trainer and assessor at Focus Training Group has praised her for her proactive approach to learning and continuous support towards her peers.


Tracy is looking forward to completing her apprenticeship and joining the team of gas engineers at LiveWest working within the community. Her employer adds, ‘she has a customer-centric approach to her work, which is perfect for the role that she is in, entering homes of vulnerable members of the community to carry out essential safety work’.


Congratulations Tracy for the recognition of your hard work, we wish you the best of luck in your new career.