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Why is equality and diversity important to STEM subject choice and careers?

Promoting equality and diversity is a vital underpinning ethos of any education, information, advice or guidance delivered by career and teaching professionals. It is particularly important to any interaction related to STEM, principally because there is an innate inequality and lack of diversity in the STEM workforce. This is the subject of particular focus, not just because many people are failing to reach their potential in STEM learning and work, but also because the STEM sector, and the UK economy, needs skilled and knowledgeable workers from all parts of our society.

This part of STEM Getting started introduces the issue and illustrates how you can focus your work so that all learners consider the benefits of STEM subject choice and careers.

Why is this such an important issue?

informationWatch the slidecast below, which introduces the key points about equality and diversity in STEM. Move cursor over presentation to show start, pause, forward and reverse buttons. Download the presentation to use embedded hyperlinks using this link: Equality and Diversity in STEM learning routes and careers presentation.

More background information can be found in the Equality and Diversity Tool Kit, which has been designed specifically for anyone giving information, advice and guidance to learners about STEM careers. This is considered in more detail in STEM Careers: Moving on.

activityRead this useful short article on Why is the Equality and Diversity Tool Kit needed?

How can you demonstrate the importance of equality and diversity in STEM practice?

activityRead the Eight Top Tips for Equality and Diversity through STEM Careers Advice - how could you put them into practice? Here are some suggestions:

assessmentTip 1: Assess your starting points. How important is the issue of equality and diversity in STEM careers information, advice and guidance where you work? You could consider these points. Can you add any more ideas? Record at least one assessment activity you would like to take further, in your STEM Careers Personal Action Plan.

activityTip 5: Engage your local employers. Work experience is one of the most effective tools in helping learners consider non traditional job roles, and can be extremely powerful in helping learners understand the potential of STEM course and career choice. Read the Quick Guide to STEM Work Experience Placements to get some ideas on how to maximise the potential of work experience for your learners. Think of three ways that you could support work experience practice to better promote STEM to all learners? Record them in your STEM Careers Personal Action Plan.

activityTip 6: Plan accessible enhancement activities. Watch this short film from Teachers TV, found in the National STEM Centre elibrary, about how two schools have promoted STEM careers to Key Stage 3 learners with low career aspirations using an active, 'hands on' approach. What could you use from this to help your learners? Record your ideas in your STEM Careers Personal Action Plan.

informationThere are more resources to support you to address this important issue in STEM Moving On.

furtherinfoTaking it further...

1. The National STEM Centre elibrary has a wide range of resources to inform and support work on this issue. Amongst them you can find:

An informative case study about Tackling Equality and Diversity in Work Experience Placements from STEM Subject Choice and Careers Lessons Learned (Part 1) published by The Centre for Science Education and Babcock.

A Teachers TV film 'Role Models and Work Placements' about how a group of female STEM Ambassadors promoted the role of women in science to Year 9 girls at a school in Sheffield.

A Guide to examples of Good Quality STEM Placements which can be used in conjunction with the Quick Guide mentioned above.

Remember that if you haven't already done so, you need to register to download some resources. Don't forget to leave a comment and rate the resource - it is really helpful to other users!

2. For a list of helpful web links, go to Equality and Diversity websites list.

3. A report from the Equality and Human Rights Commission, All Things Being Equal? Equality and Diversity in Careers Education, Information Advice and Guidance has a whole section on STEM careers on page 25. The report recommends "Efforts to increase wider participation in STEM should continue so that success in this area mirrors progress towards equal engagement in the medical and accountancy professions".

4. The Equality and Diversity Toolkit, produced by The Centre for Science Education, provides a wealth of interesting information and ideas. It is considered in more detail in STEM Moving on, but for now, as background, you may be interested to read a section which outlines the 6 strands of equality (gender, disability, race and ethnicity, LGBT and religious and socio economic) in STEM career terms.

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.

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