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Youth aspirations, connecting with the disconnected in a COVID World

Published: Feb 16, 2021 3 min read

STEM learning


Careers linked to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics have received constant attention from the media over the past few months. Whether it’s looking at the science and engineering behind vaccine production or the digital demands of creating a trace system, STEM related challenges have been a continuing part of the COVID headlines.

Yet, despite the media attention, there remains a disconnect between young people’s career aspirations and the projected availability of jobs within the UK. When it comes to STEM related jobs, careers linked to digital skills, modern engineering and research are projected to increase over the next few years. So, what can be done to help young people see a future for themselves in STEM?

With a focus on National Careers Week, the disruption to young people’s education and social experiences has created new challenges for employers looking to provide aspiration raising STEM experiences. Schools and colleges are working hard to deliver a digital approach to careers education, this has led many employers to look for online alternatives to tried and tested work related experiences. Online work experience, careers webinars and live question and answer sessions with STEM Ambassadors are just some examples of activities that young people have been experiencing as part of their remote education. Through providing young people with experience of a wide range jobs, from STEM professionals with backgrounds they can relate to, these activities will help to raise aspirations and develop awareness of what workplaces are like.

Supporting STEM careers education in schools and colleges

Over the past few months, STEM Learning and the Careers & Enterprise Company have been working in partnership to develop a new suite of careers toolkits for schools, colleges and employers. Each toolkit provides ideas of how to engage young people in STEM careers education with the ultimate aim of connecting young people’s aspirations to the range of exciting STEM related opportunities available to them.

Linking Careers to the STEM Curriculum is a careers resource aimed at teachers. It provides ideas and resources that will help teachers to link their lessons to careers which includes, accessing a wide range of role models, employer activities, competitions and clubs.

The Careers Leader’s STEM Careers Toolkit is a resource for secondary schools and colleges that provides practical suggestions on how to build STEM specific content into a careers strategy. Working through each Gatsby Careers Benchmark, it provides a range of resources, ideas and activity suggestions.

The Employer’s Guide to Supporting STEM Careers Education translates the needs of schools and colleges into a practical guide for employer engagement. It supports employers to ensure that investment of time, effort and funding best meets the needs of young people.