News Jul 6, 2020

Inspiring the Next Generation: Jacobs’ Virtual Work Experience Program is a Hit!

No office? No problem. Our team is continuing to inspire the next generation in STEM subjects with a new virtual work experience program.

Girl writing in notebook looking at virtual lesson on laptop screen

With physical distancing measures in place around the world and the temporary closure of many offices, you may have thought there wouldn’t be a way to host work experience students this year. Think again - our team in the U.K. has come up with an exciting new program that students can engage with virtually!

Jacobs has been engaging and inspiring students in STEM across the U.K. for several years, showcasing the possibilities and opportunities associated with a career in STEM. Until now, students have generally undertaken work experience in offices alongside Jacobs staff but with the shift to remote working as a result of COVID-19, STEM ambassadors at Jacobs saw an opportunity to reinvent the way they deliver work experience, while continuing to effectively engage students in STEM.

Visualization of building designed as STEAM activity

The virtual work experience program they’ve developed takes students through the design of a coronavirus vaccine research facility over five weeks and 10 sessions, giving students the opportunity to develop STEM skills ranging from project management to architecture, and other critical workplace skills like problem solving and comprehending multiple sources of data.

In a typical week the students cover two topic areas, with video lectures and related activities released on Monday and Wednesday mornings. Later in the week, once they have had the opportunity to watch the lectures and try the activities, there is a live Q&A session with a professional from Jacobs who works in the relevant area, where students can ask questions about the activities, the person’s career, hobbies or anything else they’d like to know.

Running the program completely online also means that it opens up the opportunity to students who may not have been able to attend our in-person work experience because they don’t live close to one of our office locations - making it more inclusive. More than 360 students have applied to join the program since its launch in May; 93% of those who have completed it said they would recommend the program to a friend. And, 93% said it has made them more likely, or as likely, to consider a STEM career.

Industrial Cadets, an organization that enables employers to run accredited work experience programs for young people, has accredited our virtual work experience program at Silver level – with students gaining around 30 hours of structured and accredited work experience. Students can use this experience on their CVs going forward on whatever route they take, be it an apprenticeship or university.

Alex, 15, a school pupil from Lewes, near Brighton shares what he enjoyed learning during the program. The team will also be presenting the new virtual program to an Engineering U.K Work Experience Working group on July 8 to share what they’ve learnt and help the wider engineering community to continue to engage students across the U.K. in STEM.

As if our STEM ambassadors weren’t busy enough, they are also working to inspire the next generation with virtual careers fairs and videos of staff talking about their careers, and recently introduced structured and ad-hoc tutoring to help out Jacobs staff who are homeschooling their children while schools are closed in the U.K. The tutors are all volunteers from across the business who can provide guidance across a range of subject areas.

Thanks to all our visionaries, thinkers, doers involved from our STEM ambassador community who are collaborating to make a positive impact, looking beyond to raise the bar and deliver with excellence.

For more information or to apply to the U.K. Virtual Work Experience program, please email us on:


U.K. Graduate opportunities open in October 2020 and U.K. Apprenticeship opportunities open in January 2021, for more information visit