Home > News and views > View all

Linking curriculum learning to STEM careers online course

Published: Aug 4, 2020 4 min read



This was my first experience of being a course mentor for STEM Learning online CPD and I found it a rewarding experience. Learners followed this course during a unique time in education, with schools around the world closed because of the Coronavirus pandemic and teachers having to adapt quickly to working online with their students.

For some learners, this proved to be an ideal time to take part in professional development as they were able to spend some time during the day using the content and reflecting on their practice. Many were able to take advantage of students engaging in online learning to obtain data for the student audit survey. However, for some it was difficult to gather students’ responses from a whole class which would be useful for planning STEM career learning. For example, when considering working with employers in week 3, one could make use of the students’ perceptions and career aspirations if that data could easily be obtained.

“This activity showed me how straightforward it is going to be to add careers information in a lesson plans on a very regular basis!” - Alison

The learners on this course are so supportive of each other. Within the discussion, learners shared ideas, such as useful career materials and adapted resources that learners had produced themselves. The comments of encouragement between learners is also a strength of this course, for example sharing an approach to helping students or agreeing a learning point such as the importance of skills, and by using the @ symbol and the username dialogues were able to continue.

For many learners, when considering careers within STEM subjects the starting point is often talking about STEM jobs within lessons. This course leads learners through the depth of understanding of what STEM career learning is. As the weeks progressed the discussions moved to bringing a local and global context of the subject into the classroom to understanding the importance of the transferability of the skills we use in STEM subjects.

“I think showing some video clips that relate to careers within a topic is a nice easy starting point but also just giving students that time to discuss how these skills could be used within different careers is so simple and I think will have a big impact. I have started to include this into the home learning that I have set this week, for example asking students to present their work to family at home and pointing out the what skills they are developing by completing this task.” Michaela

Towards the end of the course many learners formed plans of how they can improve the career learning within their STEM lessons and implement in the department. The course encourages a holistic approach to STEM career learning, thinking about the journey that a student will be on as they move through school. Many learners shared their ideas that included collaborating with other colleagues, working with employers and regularly emphasising skills.

“I would like to see applications of science (and so jobs/careers) introduced from year 7 so students always see the point in what they are learning. The thing I've picked up here is thinking of how to get parents onboard.” - Sue

“Next few weeks - Get a word cloud developed that shows STEM skills from teacher, student and employer [perspective]. Feedback key points from training to STEM departments and SLT. Next term - Meet with STEM reps in my school to develop the career journey for the year. Begin to embed careers into the curriculum. Next year - Look at working on projects that engage parents more with STEM careers and developing long term relationships between employers and the school.” - Jorden

Lisa Painter, July 2020

For further information and to join the course: