Leading the STEM skills shortage discussion during York Business Week
The importance of good role models, how we address the gender balance in STEM careers and the role teachers play in influencing young people in their career choices were all key discussion areas in a thought-provoking and animated discussion as part of the virtual York Business Week.
Hosted by STEM Learning, the panel included Suzanne Walker – Human Resources Director at SYSTRA Limited – UK & Ireland, part of one of the world’s leading engineering organisations SYSTRA, which has a regional office in York.
Other panel members included:
- Tamasin Greenough Gough, Trans Pennine STEM Ambassador Hub Manager, Science Museum Group
- Wayne Jarvis, Senior Educational Lead, STEM Learning.
A major part of the conversation was about the importance of having good role models and the impact they have on decisions made by young people on the subjects they study - and ultimately their career choices. Tamasin discussed the key role STEM Ambassadors are continuing to have in the classroom during the ongoing pandemic by running virtual workshops and discussions to engage and enthuse young students in STEM subjects.
Suzanne focused on their strategy to address the gender balance. She highlighted the importance of the role female STEM ambassadors play at a grassroots level to support SYSTRA Limited’s recruitment drive and how working with organisations such as WISE (Women into Science and Engineering) had been a key driver to their success. Another important factor in this was securing the support of SYSTRA Limited’s senior board and management team who are fully committed to addressing the gender balance.
Wayne explained how STEM Learning has adapted its offer during these challenging times and introduced a range of remote CPD for teachers and facilitators. He outlined that adapting STEM CPD and providing online resources has played a key role, not only in wellbeing and job satisfaction, but in developing their skills and techniques to deliver high quality and engaging lessons.
Finally, what was very clear in the discussion from all the panel members and participants was the level of commitment from York businesses to ensure the future of a local STEM talent pool. From local large organisation such as SYSTRA Limited providing real life examples of STEM careers direct to local schools, to the CPD support and resources given to local teachers to deliver high quality and engaging lessons via STEM Learning, the STEM future in York is looking bright.