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Bringing STEM careers into the classroom

New independent research 'shows the way to revolutionise STEM education and inspire a new generation of engineers, scientists and technicians'

Posted by Julian Owen | December 23, 2017 | Secondary

The STEM Insight programme gives teachers the chance to go on a placement in industry or at a university to learn about jobs and career paths. Ensuring students have access to the best possible STEM careers information is a core part of the Government’s new policy paper, ‘Careers strategy: making the most of everyone’s skills and talents’. Teachers are one of the most important sources of career information for young people, but many feel they lack sufficient knowledge to play this role. This is particularly true in STEM, as engineering and manufacturing are poorly represented in schools and the curriculum. 

From primary teachers to lecturers in FE and careers leaders, those on STEM Insight placements experience cutting-edge industry and research and bring back knowledge of the wide range of interesting STEM careers and pathways available to their students. Placements have already been undertaken at a diverse range of organisations, such as IBM, Caterpillar and the University of Cambridge.

The report was compiled by CRAC, the Career Development Organisation, and shows that participants, their schools or colleges, as well as the host organisations, all benefit greatly from the programme. This adds up to increased awareness of the exciting opportunities in STEM available through both vocational and academic routes for students across the UK.

Benefits for teachers

 - 100% of participants increased their understanding of current STEM jobs and career pathways 

 - 100% of participants are now more passionate advocates for STEM careers and giving better-informed personal advice and guidance on progression and potential career choices to students 

 - 80% of teachers improved their understanding of how to contextualise the curriculum with cutting-edge STEM knowledge and real-world applications

 - 80% of teacher participants reported improved STEM subject and pedagogical understanding and increased confidence and enthusiasm for STEM

Marie Jobson, Careers Lead at Churchill Community College, North Tyneside (a Good Career Guidance benchmarks pilot school), said: “The networking opportunities were priceless – since the placement, relationships with these employers have hugely strengthened our careers education programme.” 

Alice Kupara, Subject Leader of ICT and Computer Science at Thomas Deacon Academy, Peterborough, said: “From day one I learnt about many careers I didn’t even know existed and each day after I continued to be surprised by the range of careers available. My eyes have been opened and I now believe that STEM can take you anywhere; there is an abundance of opportunities.” 

Benefits for universities and industry

 - 100% of hosts believed participation in STEM Insight helps them better inform young people about STEM career pathways and opportunities 

 - 100% of hosts believed participation in STEM Insight multiplied the reach of their influence on young people

Sir John Holman, Senior Advisor to the Gatsby Foundation and author of the Gatsby Good Career Guidance Report, said: “With a growing need for people with STEM skills in the UK workforce, it is particularly important that young people are made aware of the opportunities available through studying STEM subjects, and the different training options opening through new technical routes.

Teachers who link classroom learning to the world of work, and introduce jobs and routes that students might not have thought about, can raise aspirations and inspire students to fulfil their potential. This is one of the Good Career Guidance benchmarks at the heart of the Government’s Careers Strategy. STEM Insight equips teachers with the confidence and knowledge to embed careers into the curriculum.

Teacher placements are an effective and inspiring way of upskilling teachers to improve careers education in our schools and colleges, and of building closer relationships with industry and higher education institutions.”

You can read the full research report here.

For more information about the scheme, including case studies and the opportunity to observe a placement, get in touch with Hannah Copestake via h.copestake@stem.org.uk.

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