I recently have joined (as part of a team at work) the STEM Ambassadors Programme in the UK, which is funded by the UK Government’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).
STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, and STEM Ambassadors are people with experience in one or many of these fields who use their knowledge, enthusiasm and commitment to encourage young people to enjoy STEM subjects.
Joining involves 3 main things:
- DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check
- Training session on being a STEM Ambassador
- Volunteering time to the program
So why have I become a STEM Ambassador?
For me this is about passing my knowledge and experiences on to young people:
- Providing examples of how STEM subjects can lead to a good career
- Talking about why STEM subjects are important
- Giving examples of how and why businesses see STEM as important
- Showing some practical examples of STEM through things like coding, applications and solutions
How much time should I volunteer?
There is a minimum of one event a year. Personally I am planning to do more than this in a year and already have several activities diaried in.
What will I be doing?
Working as part of a team of STEM Ambassadors at CSC, I’ll be engaging with local schools and teachers to introduce ourselves as STEM Ambassadors and show them what we can offer, as individuals or a team, to help support their STEM initiatives.
I am also involved with Scouting, so I have an opportunity to deliver several Scouting badges related to STEM:
- Astronautics Activity Badge
- Astronomer Activity Badge
- Digital Maker Staged Activity Badge
- Digital Citizen Staged Activity Badge
To earn these badges, scout must meet a structured set of guidelines doing STEM-based activities. There are also a number of other badges for other scouting levels (Beavers, Cubs and Explorers).
STEM is an important issue, and the UK Government has launched an inquiry into how the STEM skills gap can be closed:
Throughout its recent inquiries, the Science and Technology Committee has repeatedly received evidence that the UK is facing STEM skill shortages, often in key growth sectors, like big data.
The Committee therefore invites written evidence on measures that organisations, businesses, schools, colleges and individuals have taken to close the STEM skills gap. These could include, but are not limited to, apprenticeships, vocational courses, mentoring, teacher placements in industry and establishing links between business and schools/colleges.
The results of this inquiry will be interesting reading for businesses, teachers and young people.
We have to remember that the young people of today will probably be doing jobs that haven’t been invented yet, so any way we can help guide their studies and career choices today will help them with their career tomorrow.
If you want to become a STEM Ambassador, you can apply to your local hub.
Max Hemingway joined CSC in 2008 (28 years industry experience) and has worked on many projects including Journey to Digital, IoT and Cloud. Working as an Account Chief Architect on a major account, he is also a Fellow of the British Computer Society and a Chartered IT Professional. Max lives with his family in the United Kingdom. Max is also a STEM Ambassador.