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STEM careers – where to start

Published: Feb 16, 2021 3 min read

STEM learning

STEM careers are everywhere and their influence touches every part of our lives. But do most young people see themselves in a STEM related role when they leave school?

With so many examples of jobs to choose from, how can we make sure that students have the right information they need to make an informed decision about their future career?

6 ways to develop STEM careers awareness:

1) Help your students to understand the importance of STEM in their lives and the lives of others. Use examples from both the inspirational and the everyday to help students understand how STEM subjects are important.

How can I do this?

  • connect topics and skills to the tasks that students might need to do in the future
  • make links to local and global issues, such as climate change, air quality and healthcare

2) Challenge students’ and parents’ perceptions that “STEM isn’t for me”.

Encourage all students to see the opportunities STEM gives them, regardless of gender, race or academic ability. 

How can I do this?

  • include a wide variety of role models in images, resources and guest speakers
  • talk about who can do jobs in STEM and what exam grades are needed

3) Be aware of the wide range of roles available within STEM industries.

Highlighting a wide-range of jobs linked to STEM employers will help students to see how the skills they develop across the STEM curriculum are relevant to their future employability, regardless of whether or not they choose a future in a STEM skilled role.

How can I do this?

  • create a wall display showing STEM careers and study routes that link to your subject from a range of sectors (like digital, healthcare, construction and biosciences)
  • increase your own knowledge by working with your careers advisor, attending CPD and meeting employers at STEM Ambassador events

4) Help students to see the value and transferability of STEM skills.

Show how STEM skills can be used in so many areas - in particular, maths and digital skills, and provide examples of how these skills can support their wider employability.

How can I do this?

  • create opportunities for students to use numeracy and digital skills in lessons (like using the internet to research a topic, using budgets for challenges and competitions)
  • plan a collaborative project with another department, linking science to PE by exploring how science can improve sporting performance

5) Develop the employability skills needed to be successful in STEM employment.

Plan time in your curriculum to develop employability skills and highlight these opportunities to students.

How can I do this?

  • make employability skills visible in your classroom by downloading our Top 10 employability skills
  • invite STEM Ambassadors to speak to students about how they and their colleagues use different employability skills in work

6) Increase awareness of STEM specific study routes and labour market information.

Share labour market information and help students to learn more about STEM careers and range of further study routes available to them.

How can I do this?

  • share your career story with students, including previous jobs and study routes.
  • provide students with examples of further study routes that link to a topic or lesson (like A levels, T levels, apprenticeships, degree routes and vocational qualifications)

Find more ideas and inspiration in our new resource: Developing career learning in STEM

For more information on how STEM can be part of your school or college careers strategy, take a look at our new STEM Careers Toolkit.