As the result of the Covid-19 pandemic as well as the rise of the digital age, STEM subjects at university and higher education are more important than ever for job security in young people. The Find Your Flex Group feel society need to be adopting practices that will enable future generations in their future of work. Early STEM education can promote ongoing academic success and children who are introduced to the subjects early are better prepared for higher education or a career in technology-focused world.
Here, we look at what higher education institutions are doing to promote STEM subject in early years education.
What are STEM subjects?
STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. These subjects impact so many areas of society and careers can include marine biologist, civil engineers, artificial intelligence providers, software developers and data scientists and even astronauts.
A career in a STEM related role can be interesting, rewarding and offer a chance to make breakthrough discoveries and be part of cutting-edge research projects. In university or higher education, science-related subjects or degrees can include biochemistry, ecology, genetics, neuroscience and biomedical science. Technology-related subjects or degrees can include computing, computer science, digital media and multimedia. Engineering-related subjects and degrees can include civil engineering, electronics, robotics, mechanical engineers and electrical engineering. And mathematics-related subjects and degrees can include economics, computer science or statistics, financial mathematics or actuarial science.
Early Years Education
It’s important to promote these subjects early in education so that young people have something to aspire to. Currently, the number of female STEM students in higher education in the UK is only 35%, according to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA).
Cambridge Assessment International Education recognise that more women need to be encouraged to look at courses in STEM subjects and they have pinpointed that 16 is the year where most young women need a steer. Work experience around this age that often be the decided factor for many teenagers and seeing people in real life, succeeding in science workplaces can transform young women’s perspectives. Cambridge International provides opportunities for students to apply the skills they have learnt in STEM lessons with the global Cambridge Upper Secondary Science Competition.
Newcastle University are another higher education body that actively offer STEM outreach for schools and colleges with virtual workshops and resources for teachers readily available online.
How the Tech Industries can Help
Technologies company, Huawei, have recognised that young people need encouragement and help to gain employable skills in STEM industries and are working with universities, colleges and schools to offer ICT industry certifications to students. They have vowed to also help teachers by providing learning resources from the digital and IT sectors to help them keep on top of the fast-paced changes in digital skills.
The Good Results
The good news is that the number of students choosing STEM subjects in higher education is growing thanks to the impact of early STEM uptake in schools. According to UCAS, acceptances into computer science courses have risen by almost 50% since 2011 and engineering courses have increased by 21%. The is due to an increase in demand from young people in the UK.
The support in early education is obviously helping but more needs to be done. Ideally, every university in the UK will provide support and resources to schools and companies that work within the STEM subject industries should be reaching out to offer real work experience opportunities.
As signatories of The Tech Talent Charter, The Find Your Flex Group are aware that their partner organisation focus on this very subject. The Tech She Can Charter is "a commitment by organisations to work together to increase the number of women working in technology roles in the UK. It aims to tackle the root cause of the problem at a societal level by inspiring and educating young girls and women to get into tech careers and sharing best practice across the organisations involved". Amongst other actions, all the organisations who sign up to the charter agree to collectively work with over 9,000 schools across the UK to educate and inspire pupils and teachers about technology careers. Coordinating their efforts will mean they can reach more schools across the UK and have a far greater impact. The charters free online Tech We Can lessons aims to inspire more children and particularly girls to see the possibility that a job in technology can bring.