BBC Bitesize: Innovation in STEAM

BBC Bitesize: Innovation in STEAM

Last week, our R&D Engineer Connor McWhirter was part of a panel for BBC Bitesize’s innovation initiative – a school tour designed to encourage and inspire students to consider innovative careers and jobs within the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics) industries. Talking to more than 200 students in Liverpool, Connor explained his role at Sky – from day-to-day tasks to the company vision – and his journey from student to engineer.

What does innovation mean to Sky Medical Technology?

Innovation means trying to achieve two things: save lives and save healthcare systems money. This is especially true since the pandemic – medical services are constantly overstretched. We aim to use innovation to deliver better healthcare results for people at a lower cost for the NHS and other healthcare services around the world.

What do you love about your job? What’s exciting about it?

I really love the bigger picture behind what I do day-to-day: what I design will eventually help someone and better their quality of life. I also really enjoy the technical aspects of my job too, putting what I learned at university and school into practice. These skills help me overcome the challenge of creating new and novel solutions to any problem I may encounter.

What do you think the future holds for the healthcare industry?

Despite everyone in the audience being young, the population of the world is getting progressively older. This is great because people are living longer but that means we also need more healthcare services to keep us well.

This is expensive so medical technology companies try to find ways to innovate so that people can be treated for less cost, but with a better overall medical outcome. Only technology can deliver this kind of change, so I hope the future of our industry will be in making healthcare better and more affordable for growing numbers of people worldwide.

What piece of advice would you have given yourself if you were back at school?

Don’t worry about not getting the grades you were expecting and don’t stress about not getting your first choice of university or course. Consider college or even an apprenticeship instead of university. A-levels and university are not for everyone so it should not be pushed that it is the only option. If you do not do as well as you hoped in your GCSEs, consider all your options instead of narrowing your field of vision to just A-levels or even what your friends are doing.

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