Chief Executive, Ben Ward
Meet the CEO, Ben Ward
What's your background?
I am from a business background - my career originally started in banking and I've also worked in the local authority. Luckily most of this involved working with young people, which is something I really enjoy. I have been fortunate to have a varied career that has enabled a wide skill set, something essential for the role of CEO and the many different challenges that occur on a daily basis.
Most recently, I have been involved in science communication - I feel being Chief Executive of Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium is a natural next step.
What inspired you to join Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium?
The Science Centre is an amazing place and I wanted to continue the great work carried out here in inspiring young people to choose a career in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM). There is a real sense of creativity and a desire to want to make a difference, something that makes me very proud to lead this team.
What's the best part of your job?
There are quite a few best bits! A good candidate for the best part of my job is seeing a school arrive and witnessing the look of excitement on the children's faces. I enjoy looking to the future and my role as Chief Executive allows me to look ahead and steer the whole organisation, and achieve great things. There is a lot to do here and I am particularly looking forward to changing and growing the charity's reach.
What's your favourite part of the Science Centre?
It is easy to say an exhibition, or the planetarium perhaps, but really there are many component parts to a larger beast. I do not really have a favourite part, except when a new exhibit arrives and it is new and exciting - I like the anticipation it brings and seeing how visitors react to it.
There is a lovely atmosphere in the Centre, whether it is a busy day for school visits, a school holiday or an evening event for adults – it just feels right and that is not an easy thing to cultivate.
What does the future hold for Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium?
It is a really interesting time for Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium. There is lots to do and achieve over the coming years, not least some really exciting additions to the exhibitions planned, a proposed upgrade to our planetarium and much, much more.
Forging relationships with partners provides a real opportunity for the future, and is an area I will be working on closely over the coming years. I am keen to build links with industry and academia in particular, to showcase the latest research and technology - something I hope will inspire the next generation.
The greatest thing about a Science Centre is taking quite a complicated subject matter, and creating a new way of explaining it to ensure it is accessible and inspirational. Our role is to inspire our audiences and to enable access to a STEM career for all. There are many different ways of doing this, but the real challenge comes in delivering this in an unusual and accessible way. I am looking forward to making Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium available for everyone, and building on widening our visitor demographic.
What are your achievements to date?
During my time at Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium, I have already driven forward the renovation of a brand new café, bar and retail area with the opening of The Hub, and devised an extensive events programme, offering a variety of music, comedy and film events for adults, as well as a number of themed weekends for families.
Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium has been named as the lead organisation for the STEM Ambassador Hub Central South England. The Hub will connect teachers, leaders of non-school groups, STEM Ambassadors and employers in order to inspire the next generation of STEM professionals.
We also enjoyed a very successful October half term for our Curious Combustion activities, where we welcomed more than 8000 visitors throughout the 11 day period.
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