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How can we raise awareness of STEM courses and careers?

It's one thing to be aware of the important reasons for promoting STEM courses and careers, and great to be able to point to useful sources of information, but how can all of this translate into action that really makes a difference? This section aims to bring you closer to activities and examples of good practice that can help get the STEM message across.

Who raises awareness?

information It's obvious that careers advisers, careers co-ordinators and those who organise and deliver careers education, information, advice and guidance in schools and colleges will lead the way in raising awareness about STEM, but it is crucial that a much wider group of professionals are also prepared and supported to do this. STEM subject teachers have a vital role to play in raising awareness of STEM careers and placing them in context with learners and their parents; tutors need an understanding of the issues and information sources to support their tutees; mentors will want to be familiar with STEM opportunities to motivate the learners they support and leaders and managers require up to date knowledge to inform their strategic thinking and planning. There is also a wealth of external STEM people to call upon including STEM Ambassadors and local universities, employers and professional institutions. With so many people potentially involved, collaboration and co-ordination are important bywords.

activity Watch this 13 minute film Information, Advice and Guidance which demonstrates how learners, external speakers, a science teacher and careers co-ordinator have used the power of STEM Career Mapping to raise awareness of STEM. Press the arrow to start the film.

There's a report about all of the STEM careers work that went on in this school, with tips for other schools, in the Taking it further section below.

What do we need to raise awareness of?

It is vital that teachers, advisers, and parents are aware of STEM learning options in order to help learners understand the potential of STEM, and of sources of STEM careers information which includes labour market information.

activity Watch This STEM Learning Routes and Pathways slidecast based on information found in the STEM Choices pack, which summarises the options. Move cursor over presentation to show start, pause, forward and reverse buttons. Download the presentation to use the embedded hyperlinks.

activity Why not investigate ...

  • the STEM learning options for the learners you work with?
  • the STEM learning choices your learners have made in the past and what are they doing now as a result?

activitywhat might you be? STEM career case studies are found on the Future Morph website and your career possibilities can be explored using the What Might You Be? game, also on the site. Why not have a go yourself, now?

activity Money isn’t everything, but when learners are asking for careers information, it is often the question at top of their minds. Frequently there are misconceptions about the level of salaries that people working in STEM careers can earn. Try this: Where's the Money? quiz, based on information found in the STEM Choices Pack, to find out more about STEM salaries.

How can this awareness raising be done?

information Many examples of good practice and resources have been generated by the STEM Careers Project to support learners to develop awareness of STEM. An important source of good practice case studies and STEM resources is the National STEM Centre elibrary, introduced in the Sources of Information section. Five resources from the library are included below.

activity Experience these examples and share your opinion and award a star rating by using the link provided to the relevant elibrary page. NB you will need to register on the elibrary site, if you haven't already done so.

1. Watch STEM Rap (lasts 4 mins), written and performed for the National HE STEM programme to inform learners about the career possibilities offered by studying STEM subjects. Leave your comments and rating here.

2. View this taster of What's My Line? (Careers in Maths) game by moving the cursor over the presentation to show start, pause, forward and reverse buttons. This game aims to help learners understand more about how maths is used in different careers. The format can be adapted for other subjects, or why not create some 'What's my Liners' of your own from local employers and/or ex-learners? Download the full presentation for re-use here. The What's My Line? game is found in section 6 of the STEM Choices pack so leave your ratings and comments on this page.

3. Parents and Carers have a critical role in their children's course and career decisions, so need to be aware offuturemorph_logo1.jpg STEM. Schools can invite parents to STEM careers events, or introduce information into course options booklets etc. The STEM Careers Activity Pack for Parents is found on the Future Morph website and contains activities from the site for parents to work through with their children. Go to the parent section of the Future Morph website or use the highlighted link above and skim read the pack. Leave your ratings and comments here, specifying that they relate to the Careers Activity Pack for parents. Find other resources for parents in the Taking it further section.

4. Watch this film which shows how a science teacher and school nurse used a role play based lesson about IVF to raise awareness about a wide range of careers involved in the process.The film lasts 13 minutes, the careers element concentrated in the last half. Leave your ratings and comments on this page.

5. Have a go at this web adapted version of the Pairs Card game from section 6 of the STEM Choices pack by clicking here.The game is designed to raise student awareness of jobs in new technologies. Leave your ratings and comments on this page.

assessmentNote in your STEM Careers Personal Action Plan, which can be downloaded here any thoughts or actions you want to take forward.

furtherinfoTaking it further...

  1. Find out more about the Information, Advice and Guidance project, related to the film above by reading the whole case study, or you can read the full report containing 6 case studies: STEM Subject Choice and Careers Lessons Learned (Part 1) published by The Centre for Science Education and Babcock.
  2. STEM Ambassadors have long been recognised as an effective way of raising awareness about STEM careers. A training pack has been produced to support people who volunteer to be ambassadors to be more effective, along with guidance for schools and other organisations who are delivering the training.
  3. The Russell Group of Leading UK research universities have collaborated with the Institute of Career Guidance to produce an information leaflet, Informed Choices, to support choice of A levels of equivalent qualifications. It can be read on their website, or printed.
  4. Work experience is an important way of raising awareness about STEM Careers. This report, by CSE and Babcock explains how to organise good quality STEM work placements.
  5. This Mentoring Guide has some tips for establishing a mentoring programme and examples of online STEM mentoring.
  6. Parents may also find this DFE leaflet, Explore the Possibilities helpful, as well as the website, parentadviser when advising young people.

chat_iconAdd any comments in the box below or on the STEM Careers: Helping Students Get The Message online community group on the National STEM Centre website.

ForwardMove on to the next section: Why is equality and diversity important in STEM subject and career choice?