A female prosthetic technician involved in helping to change the lives of amputees in Africa is chosen as a role model for a national exhibition to encourage more young people to think of similar careers.
The Technician Gallery at the National Science Museum in London aims to celebrate and raise awareness of the role of technicians in a free interactive gallery dedicated to 11 to 16-year-olds.
Bex Yearworth, who is a trustee at Bristol charity Legs4Africa and the prosthetic technician who has helped make recycling UK prosthetics possible to support thousands of amputees in sub-Saharan Africa, is one of the technicians featured in the new permanent exhibit.
One of only a handful of female technicians when she started her career in 2015 the 32-year-old was instrumental in helping Legs4Africa find a way to dismantle UK prosthetics so they could be saved from landfill and used to support individuals with limb loss in sub-Saharan Africa.
The charity, which has helped over 14,000 individuals walk again, was originally shipping whole prosthetics to the Gambia but with Bex’s support was able to instigate a system where the prosthetics could be dismantled in the UK ready to be delivered to prosthetic centres in Africa. Delivering training Bex was then able to help the charity support each of the local centres to create new prosthetic limbs and make prosthetics accessible to those living in Africa.
Talking about the new exhibition Bex said it was an honour to be chosen and to highlight the work of technicians in helping those suffering from limb loss.
“There is a massive skills shortage in the industry so to be able to shine the spotlight on prosthetics and break down some stereotypes that still exist I hope we will be able to encourage more young people to see it as a future career opportunity.
“I’ve been very lucky to be supported throughout my career by my employers who have recognised the passion I have for volunteering with Legs4Africa. The work the charity does is changing the lives of individuals suffering from limb loss around the world.
“The exhibition is a real honour and such an amazing opportunity to inspire young people.”
Technicians: The David Sainsbury Gallery is a free interactive gallery which opened in November 2022. A behind-the-scenes, hands-on look at some of the interesting roles technicians take on it will allow young people to work in a film set and health science lab as part of the new permanent exhibition.
With a shortfall of around 800,000 technicians across the UK, it will showcase technician careers across four sectors: advanced manufacturing, the creative industries, health and energy.
The aim is to generate excitement among young people about technician roles, which cover everything from operating manufacturing robots to creating visual effects for films, fixing wind turbine faults and creating prosthetics.
Tom Williams OBE, CEO of Legs4Africa, said the charity was lucky to have such a specialist team of experts who helped the charity with its life-saving work.
“Without the support of technicians like Bex who have helped to make the recycling of prosthetics possible, the charity would not have been able to make such a difference. Her experience was invaluable in starting the dismantling program and training the centres across Africa.
“It is great to see her work recognised. She is a real inspiration, and we are lucky to have her as part of our team.”
Starting in 2013, Legs4Africa has shipped over 14,000 prosthetic legs to African clinics that would have otherwise ended up in landfill. They currently partner with local mobility centres across the UK and recycle high-quality prosthetic legs with minimal environmental impact. By 2025 the charity hopes to increase the number of limb fitting centres it works with across Europe, Canada and the USA, to recycle unused and returned prosthetics.
Ambassadors for the charity include Paralympian Julie Rogers, Tik Tok star Milly Pickles and TV presenter Alex Brooker.
For more information on the work Legs4Africa is doing to help change people’s lives in Sub Saharan Africa or to donate unwanted prosthetic limbs to save them from landfill please visit: www.legs4africa.org.