A positive year for STEM outreach
By Dan Phelps, STEM Project Manager
And so 2016 is drawing to an end…
What a year it has been for STEM engagement around the Practice!
Over the past twelve months, PBA’s STEM Ambassador Initiative has been progressing in leaps and bounds. The ICE Bridge campaign, Building my Skills programme, student mentoring schemes, and many career events have firmly cemented PBA as a major STEM player, particularly in the Thames Valley.
To put our progression through 2016 in quantifiable terms, we have seen a 60% increase in the number of fully registered STEM Ambassadors; we’ve nearly doubled the number of events attended to 70 and we’ve engaged with over 2,500 young people throughout England and Scotland.
Even though the numbers speak for themselves, we’ve also had some excellent words of praise and support from the students, the teachers, and the wider industry through publications such as New Civil Engineer showing that our exuberant approach as worthwhile and effective.
I’ve personally been developing relationships with several NGOs – including Tomorrow’s Engineers, who have kindly offered their assistance in gaining UCAS accreditation for the Designing Our Tomorrow (DOT Box) scheme. If the accreditation application is successful, this may propel the scheme to greater heights as exposure and coverage would be instrumental in raising awareness of this new method of teaching to an even wider audience of schools and academies.
The DOT Box scheme of work has been developed through the efforts of the University of Cambridge alongside educational and industry professionals. Find out more here.
PBA is hitting the skills shortage where it hurts the most – the curriculum. Our co-teaching scheme at UTC Reading will equip students with the practical and theoretical knowledge that the industry will require of them; this will later ease the skills shortage as we’re prescribing the learned skills, while also greatly increasing the employability of the students upon graduation.
All in all, 2016 has been an excellent year for our STEM Initiative and we have clearly demonstrated to ourselves, the industry and most importantly, to the schools, that PBA has an energetic, on-going commitment to engaging local communities and opening up a world of opportunities in engineering careers to students who may have otherwise remained unaware.
To all our ambassadors, allies and supporters: well done and let’s keep up the good work in 2017!