© Hack Education
I first heard about the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) programme when Will.i.am donated £500,000 in support of it. The STEM Outreach programme aims to inspire young people (including school children) to explore a career in STEM as the UK is facing a skills shortage.
I gained a detailed understanding of how the programme works from a talk by David Rogers, the STEM Outreach Coordinator at Newcastle College. He was trying to get us to volunteer as STEM Ambassadors, who go out to schools to do fun science stuff and expose the children to STEM careers.
The highlight of the event was the very engaging ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ session. Two volunteers, standing opposite each other, read out opposing statements eg. ‘Friending students on Facebook is a great way to answer their questions’ and ‘You should have nothing to do with students after the talk at school’. We then moved toward the person reading the statement we agreed with.
It was fun to hear why people literally took a certain stance as David quizzed us after each shuffle. The answer was: STEM ambassadors should always protect themselves from any allegations of misconduct by channelling all communication through official routes eg. teachers.
Afterwards, for an engineering game, we had to construct free-standing towers in groups using 15 spaghetti strands, a jelly baby and some tape; the tallest winning the game. Mine was crap.
So, if unlike me you love science and children the STEM programme might be right for you!