From Ron Lewin

In October 1976 Jim Callaghan gave a speech at Oxford, which centred on the poor state of the UK economy. He concluded with a plea for students leaving our Universities to make a contribution to wealth creation in the UK.

This speech started a whole train of initiatives, one of which was the Department of Trade and Industry setting up an Industry Education Unit headed by Dr Eric Bates. Eric was a regular visitor to Fulmer before he joined the DTI and knew of some of our initiatives to encourage young students into science. The result was that he invited us to submit a proposal to develop the work further.

The funds were not sufficient to allow us to spend much time on the project but Norman Waterman, David Davies, John Denison and I fitted the work in between more conventional Fulmer activities. Our director, Dr Eric Duckworth, should be given the credit for his personal involvement. He said to me ‘If you really believe in the value of this work then you need to spend most of your efforts to get it off the ground’. These were wise words.

I was very concerned that we would soon use up our funding but had no idea of the collusion between Dr Duckworth and Dr Bates. They both were very committed to finding ways to attract more able pupils into science and technology. The result was a gentle stream of funds being made available as the project grew.

We started in a modest way with six schools, three from Buckinghamshire and three from Berkshire. The project continued and made a contribution to both the Science and Technology Documents in The Education Reform Act 1987.

Dr Eric Duckworth said publicly that the Fulmer Industry Education Project was one of the most important pieces of work we had ever undertaken.