The likes of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics is present in all parts of our life, whether they realise this or not. Whether that be taking medicine, using a smartphone, travelling from A to B, or making sense of numbers and graphs — something we’re all having to appreciate more right now.
The academic disciplines of STEM are taught to children throughout the school curriculum and are used by adults later in life, if they choose to go down one of the four routes for their career.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic however, STEM teachers have been replaced with parents who are not trained in this field, due to schools remaining closed until further notice. Despite the pause button being pressed on normality, there’s still a lot that can be done to help children learn these key skills.
With skill shortages causing gaps in the industry already, to prevent potential employers getting headaches over this, now is more important than ever for children to learn, develop and ultimately help fill the gaps that currently exist in the industry. Here, we highlight what can be done, how to do it, and celebrate those who’ve gone the extra mile to keep STEM at the forefront of everyone’s minds.
The Importance of Apprenticeships
A popular route chosen by many going into STEM careers is through apprenticeships. One good example of this is the car industry, where many young people are going straight into the workplace once they’ve finished further or higher education. With engineering playing such a vital role in the building of cars and the maintenance of them, it’s important that young people continue to choose this route as a career choice.
Rob Pallent Bright has been deemed one of the latest rising stars in the car industry, being an apprentice at Lookers Ford Braintree. Playing a pivotal role in the servicing of cars like the New Ford Mondeo Hybrid, Rob’s hard work and dedication paid off as he picked up two major apprentice gongs in the same week, just five months ago.
Awards were given for multiple achievements, including the overall winner prize at the WorldSkills 2019 finals in the Automotive Technology category prestigious awards, and the Ford Apprentice of the Year for 2019. It’s evidence that success can be achieved by young people in STEM. With great opportunities being created through apprenticeships, initiatives that are helping us during lockdown, and education when the schools re-open, the possibilities for children and young people are endless, and ones that could help fill industry gaps for years to come.
The Benefits of Play Time
It might be rather surprising to know that when children play with STEM toys, they help strengthen their neurological development without even knowing. It can also help develop a much better understanding of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Thanks to the technological era progressing all the time, robotic toys and computers can help keep children entertained for hours on end. At the same time, parents will see that they are happy and learning.
Read More: STEM: Why It Will Be Forever Important
To help incorporate STEM into play, physically building a robot and learning the coding behind it is highly beneficial. Don’t want your children sitting at a computer all day? Toy diggers are a great way to teach them more about engineering.
The freedom that is given to children when they decide how to get creative during play time can benefit them in many ways. This is backed up by a clinical report by the American Academy of Pediatrics, who state: “Play is essential to development because it contributes to the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of children.”
Keeping children on the STEM track
From the UK government explaining how to make face masks from old t-shirts, to fast food chains sharing recipes for popular menu items, we’ve heard everything during lock down. The world of STEM has been no different, with the likes of Network Rail and Glasgow-based IT consultancy firm, CGI, putting together learning packs for children.
Developed through the idea of trains and engineering, Network Rail’s pack contains tasks and activities for ages between five and 16. With the majority of their staff classed as critical workers by the government the resources come in very handy for parents who are juggling home-schooling and work. But, not just that, it could well inspire the children of those in the rail industry to follow in their footsteps and climb the STEM career ladder.
To help ease the boredom of Lockdown, up in Glasgow, CGI launched their ‘STEM from Home’ activities. Using a weekly resource pack aimed at children between the ages of six and 14, the activities focus on robotics, coding, the environment, sport, and healthy living. Wanting as many children as possible to get into STEM, enough resources were created to last 12 weeks, with more in the pipeline. It could be the difference between children getting into the industry or choosing a different path.