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What did STEM ever do for me?
I have been a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) ambassador for 7 years, having been encouraged into it by a colleague, Margaret Beach. Having completed the very easy and brief STEM induction process I was now ready to offer my enthusiasm, knowledge, skills and experience to schools and other organisations.
What is STEM?
STEM Ambassadors are volunteers from a wide range of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) related jobs and disciplines across the UK. They offer their time and enthusiasm to help bring STEM subjects to life and demonstrate the value of them in life and careers.¹
Supporting schools gives a great opportunity to 'give something back', to help those pupils who don't know what they may want to do as a career, or don't believe a career involving STEM is within their grasp.
Your story can help encourage pupils that STEM areas are worth pursuing, that they are within their reach, and that they are worth working for. Giving context to some of the STEM subjects to connect them to real life workplace tasks can inspire pupils to pursue these subjects.
STEM support can take many forms, with creating engagement and interest being the key. There are career support events, opportunities to support and guide pupils and teachers in STEM specific activities, STEM assemblies, STEM clubs and much more.
Working as a STEM Ambassador
I have supported primary and secondary school activities, both of which have been unbelievably rewarding for me. The younger the pupil the greater the imagination, and when designing, which many of the STEM projects require, imagination is key. I am still amazed at the innovative ideas that are offered as solutions.
Events and activities I have supported include: designing 'floating' homes for flood zones, lollipop bridges tested to destruction (which the primary school students love), building a leaf blower powered hover craft (secondary and primary schools), steam propelled boats, coding of small vehicles and many more. All these events gave a great opportunity to expose the utilisation of the STEM subjects in the design, build and evaluation process.
Working as a STEM ambassador has given me a greater appreciation of the quality of training, trainers and resources we work with on a day to day basis. It has widened my understanding of teaching, my own subject specialism and through STEM networking, the wider STEM subjects. It has driven me to undertake research and reading into areas that a far outside my comfort zone (Wind turbine designs).
The rewards from my ambassador work by far outweigh the efforts that are needed to enthuse and engage the pupils for each event. I would just say, 'give it a go, it costs you nothing and gives back so much.'
In answer to what STEM did and does for me, it allows me to use my work experiences to encourage the next generation of students into STEM careers and related professions.
Supporting young people
Here at MKC Training we are trying to address the skills gap in construction and engineering. Some of the many ways we are doing that is through encouraging our staff to become STEM ambassadors, giving them the ability to take days out to participate in events and inspire the next generation with their knowledge and enthusiasm. If you are interested in finding out more about our efforts with STEM or have any questions about our training, please contact us here.
Author: Dean Edwards, Design Faculty Manager
We are trying to address the skills gap by encouraging our staff to become STEM ambassadors.