Through STEM Insight placements educators develop an understanding of the skills required to be successful in industry, enabling them to take these messages back to their schools and, through sharing with their pupils, enhance their learning about the world of work.
11 teachers attended a group residential STEM Insight placement in November 2018. Based at the Outdoor Centre at Dumfries House an intensive programme of site visits and guest speakers was arranged, condensed into a 48 hr period, thus minimizing the time required away from school & teaching commitments.
Within the first hour of the placement the personal enthusiasm was evident and the group quickly gelled, sharing experiences and challenges from their classroom practice. Some, but not all, had a Developing Young Workforce role within their school however all were very aware that their pupils did look to them for advice on subject choice, further& higher education & apprenticeship options and potential careers.
The programme included site visits to Merck, GE Calendonian, Grant’s Distillers and FMC Alginates with evening sessions from Emergency One, Scottish Power and Skills Development Scotland.
Angela Barclay, PT of Technologies at Monifieth High School provided the following on her experience:
One week after the placement: The STEM Insight placement was an amazing opportunity to meet with a number of businesses and understand exactly what is required of our pupils in future. I particularly enjoyed the passionate discussion that followed, where both the business partners and ourselves became more informed of the issues faced and how to overcome them. This placement addresses the missing link between schools and the workplace, and I have already started to put what I’ve learned into place with pupils and staff, at a school and council level. I’m also looking forward to working in tandem on projects with some of the companies we met.
One month after the placement: The impact is growing in momentum and depth. Our Faculty hosted an INSET Day for all Technologies Teachers within our Council, and I was able to include lots of relevant careers information regarding our subjects during the introduction. This was well received by staff, and was wholly based on presentations and information gained during the placement. Staff were particularly interested in the predicted job markets during our pupils’ lifetime, and the number of these that are based on Technologies subjects. It was also interesting to share the info that most companies recruiting for these posts are looking for pupils from a Science background, as this highlighted that the changes to our subjects via Curriculum for Excellence have not yet been recognised at Industry level. This led to a number of staff across the Council willing to work
together to produce a video presentations, to ensure this issue is resolved quickly and effectively.
In addition to this, plans are in place to start a collegiate project with Emergency One, where our pupils will be involved in the design and production of a part for a real fire engine! On discussion with pupils, this has already had an impact, as they can see an immediate benefit of the skills they are learning in class. This will only grow as we go through the project.
Pupils have also researched an area of Medical Technology which requires Technologies skills, and they have been fascinated to learn some of the developments. Again, they can see the direct link from the programming and engineering skills they are learning in class to the development of these products.
In future I plan to roll out these projects within my faculty and offer them out across the council, to continue developing the relevance of our subjects and the understanding of future career opportunities among our pupils and staff.
Overall, this INSIGHT placement has been an extremely high quality professional learning opportunity, and the benefits to pupils and staff are only just beginning. Thanks again to SSERC for providing this.
The teachers will come together in February for a day visit to NATS, Prestwick. Following this they will have a follow up day that will allow for reflection and planning.