There have been significant efforts to increase interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) careers within schools in recent years. However, despite these efforts, take-up is still low. According to Engineering UK’s 2017 report, The State of Engineering, this is largely because of “failure to see its relevance to current life and future directions.”
In order to encourage more young people into STEM jobs and careers, it’s vital to draw a link between classroom-based activities and real-world applications outside of school. That’s one of the driving forces behind the launch of The Global STEM Award, a new certification designed to motivate children by rewarding project work in STEM subjects.
The award, developed by UK STEM in partnership with Mindsets (UK) and The University of Wolverhampton, provides a framework to help both teachers and pupils understand the connection between STEM activities and the influence they have in the real world. In doing so, it hopes to nurture interest in science, technology, engineering and maths careers from primary school onwards.
Investing in The Global STEM Award
Mike Cargill, founder of UK STEM, has seen first-hand the detachment between science, design, technology and real-world applications. Having joined teaching following a decade-long career as a civil engineer, he dedicated himself to bridging this gap by training teachers and developing relevant activities for schools.
Through his work with Mindsets (UK) to develop and trial new products, he came up with the idea of The Global STEM Award. This would not only reward students for excelling at STEM projects, but also for taking the time to research the problems their ideas and technology could solve around the world, and the types of jobs that focus on these applications.
“It’s the STEM equivalent of the Duke of Edinburgh,” says Mike. “Often, science and technology projects in school have little relevance beyond the classroom; The Global STEM Award pushes children to make this connection. By getting to know different cultures and geographical locations where specialists can make a difference, it aims to inspire the next generation of STEM professionals.”
The award is broken down into Bronze, Silver and Gold when children complete two, seven and nine projects respectively. During this time, they must work their way around the seven continents, as well as space and marine life, to enrich their understanding of different cultures and ecosystems.
Rolling out the award
Revealed in full at The Education Show in March, The Global Stem Award will be launched in 2019, with the first Annual Awards taking place next March. A cluster of schools have already registered their interest, while the University of Wolverhampton plans to roll out the awards to their partner schools in the area.
From 2019, children will be able to claim their awards as they complete projects. Efforts are being made to make the programme accessible for schools worldwide, with Mindsets (UK) developing a range of off-the-shelf activities.
For more information about The Global STEM Awards, visit ukstem.uk/global-stem-award.