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STEM Ambassadors: engaging students with careers in Design and Technology

STEM Ambassadors are an important and exciting free-of-charge resource for teachers and others engaging with young people in and outside of the classroom. They offer their time and enthusiasm to help bring STEM subjects to life and demonstrate their value in life and careers.

A teacher's view

We asked Tessa Samuel, design and technology teacher at Judgemeadow Community College (@JudgemeadowDT), to describe her experiences of inviting STEM Ambassadors into her design and technology lessons and what her students gained from the experience:

The department decided that we needed to show Year 8 students careers that linked to design and technology, in preparation for choosing their GCSE options. We contacted Judith Payne, our local STEM Ambassador Hub contact, who helped us find someone who could speak to the students about careers in design and engineering.

Judith connected to a fantastic engineer in the motorsport industry. Rob, the STEM Ambassador, works for Torquemeters Ltd and designed a session for the students that would help them to develop their problem solving skills and learn more about careers and pathways associated to resistant materials. Rob kept in regular contact before the session so I could check that the content he was preparing was appropriate for our students.

On the day, Rob arrived with all of the equipment that we needed for the activity. He began with a PowerPoint and an introduction about himself and his route into engineering. This lead into an engineering task which they would complete in teams, this was a nice surprise for the students who were expecting to listen to a talk for the whole session.

The entire experience was really useful and has helped them to focus more in lessons. Rob’s presentation was very student friendly and a really helpful link for me to refer to when talking to students about how you can use design and technology as part of your career journey into engineering.

A STEM Ambassador's view

Rob Jinks works for Torquemeters and is the STEM Ambassador who worked with Judgemeadow Community College. We asked him what being a STEM Ambassador is like and why he volunteers his time to help schools and colleges:

Torquemeters Ltd operate at the cutting edge of high speed rotating measurement and test equipment industry, supplying equipment to a range of industries including Formula 1 Engine Manufacturers, the Oil and Gas industry and several Universities and Research Facilities around the world.  

Developing the next generation of engineers and technologists who will work in the industry is crucial to both our success to the growth of the industry as a whole. 

As a STEM Ambassador, I volunteer with schools in a variety of different ways, and mainly talk about topics that are current to them by using lots of examples of technology that they are familiar or aware of.

"The best thing about being a STEM Ambassador is seeing that the students you are working with are engaged and enjoying the subject!"

I normally include a practical activity in each lesson using readily available technology, such as K'nex.  This is great because it helps the students to understand the importance of more general skills that employers look for, such as communication, teamwork, and activity planning.

When I was at school I loved STEM subjects, so engineering seemed the obvious choice.  I had some fantastic teachers but unfortunately I received very poor careers advice. Fortunately, thanks support from a few open minded teachers I decided to become an engineering apprentice.

I made the decision quite early on in my career that I wanted to ensure future students benefited from accurate information about Engineering and Technology careers, so when I heard about the STEM Ambassador programme it seemed like a great opportunity to give something back by trying to inspire the next generation of students to become Engineers. 

To read the full article click here https://www.stem.org.uk/blog/stem-ambassadors-engaging-students-careers-design-and-technology


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