Ambassadors for learning
How experts in STEM subjects are revolutionising the classroom
It’s a well recognised fact that attracting young people to careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) can be a challenge, and that those who are entering the workforce tend to be similar in terms of gender and socioeconomic background. But there are, across the country, committed teams working to redress the deficit by sending their scientists and engineers into schools to lead classes that aim to answer the question asked by so many children during their lessons: when will this be useful to me?
Known as STEM ambassadors, these teams of engineers and scientists turned educators come from a variety of organisations around the country to inspire and excite children with the possibilities of STEM beyond the classroom. Amy Bassie, who oversees the STEM programme at Babcock International Group’s Devonport Royal Dockyard site in Plymouth says: “We want to inspire young minds, raise aspirations for the next generation of engineers and attract diverse talent by going into a variety of schools and communities.”
Babcock is very concerned with attracting a diverse range of applicants to its team. Amy says: “We focus on diversity, so we may have a female engineer go in and talk to the students about how her job is the best job in the world to really raise the profile of the organisation, particularly among younger females.”
More than anything, though, the schemes aim to show young people what options are available to them, emphasising what a career in STEM actually is. To this end, Babcock’s Plymouth ambassadors don’t teach exclusively in the classroom, and have been known, in partnership with the Royal Navy, to invite schoolchildren onto a warship for hands on educational activities.
The STEM ambassador project is, ultimately, about options. It aims to show children of all backgrounds and genders what is possible for them at a crucial time when their aspirations are just beginning to take form.