NEW chief scientist at AWE Andrew Randewich says he has his schoolteachers to thank for inspiring him.

The 42-year-old recently replaced Peter Roberts OBE in the post at the Atomic Weapons Establishment, becoming the youngest-ever chief scientist at the Aldermaston site.

Mr Randewich, a father-of-two, said: “I was fairly young when I knew science was what I wanted to do. We didn’t have a Brian Cox in those days so there weren’t the obvious figures to aspire to.

“There was no one to popularise physics like he does.”

He said it was his “inspirational” teachers which made a huge difference during his time at school in Holywood, in Northern Ireland, and emphasised the importance of schools employing specialist teachers in science, technology, engineering and maths.

He said: “Schools can have the best intentions but they need specialist teachers. If we don’t engage with Years 6, 7 and 8, it’s too late.

“And schools need to get out and engage with industry – companies like AWE – and explore the opportunities that are out there for young people.”

Mr Randewich who is also a governor at The Hurst Community College, added that his role as chief scientist at AWE is “a job I’ve always dreamed of”.