Exciting Futures in STEM presented at Turnbull High

Issued: Wed, 28 Jan 2015 09:49:00 GMT

With job opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths increasing, and currently riding high on the political agenda, more and more schools are inviting academics, industry experts and University students on campus to show pupils the wealth of STEM careers available.

 This month Turnbull High’s Principal Teacher of Wider Achievement, Jacqueline O’ Kane, secured speakers from Accountancy, Construction, Computer Science, Forensic Chemistry, Developmental Psychology and others to inspire and educate her students about the numerous job possibilities available.

She said the motivation for developing these workshops came from “the point of view of increasing STEM awareness and building the next workforce. Careers events such as these give young people an idea of what sort of jobs are out there”.

Engaging demonstrations and student involvement are crucial as each discipline competes to inspire their audience with a 20 minute practical demonstration.

For Linda Jane Sutherland, speaker for construction careers advisors CITB, it is essential when addressing young people to “grab their attention by making it [the presentation] applicable to them and encourage them to use their imagination to help understand what type of career they might be interested in.”  

The main focus here is to give young people an early idea of what profession might be best suited to their abilities or interests. Forensic Chemistry, for example, might seek to combine ability in science and an interest in Forensics via a young person’s awareness of the Crime Scene Investigators television series.

Simply creating awareness through a stimulating talk, experiment or demonstration can spark interest in pupils and enlighten them to occupations they may not have previously considered; such as Mia Ferry a second year, who stated that “I don’t really know what I want to do as a job but the Forensic experiment was fun!”

Subjects which may previously have been considered somewhat dry have been given a new lease of life with renewed interest in subjects such as Computing Science as the popularity in App building, programming and games gather momentum.

Indeed this was the foil for an engrossing presentation by three energetic tech associates from Morgan Stanley who gave their young audience a hands on idea of how a computer sorts numbers in a sequence in comparison to how our own human brains do it.

What seems clear from these types of events is that the more interactive it is the more children respond. This was shown by STEM Ambassador Maki Rooksby who engaged with her audience by showing a video of a past study on child development relating to mirror recognition in a young boy and asking open questions to foster a type of group learning which resulted in children then asking questions based on their new understanding of Developmental Psychology.

Head teacher, Eileen Kennedy, supports this view and is committed to raising awareness of STEM careers within Turnbull High, “this event is about giving the children a better idea of what is available through STEM and where it could potentially take them if they elected to follow it as a career choice. Today however, is about bringing learning to life”.


If you would like to organise a careers event or have a STEM Ambassador come to your school please contact Science Connects on 0141 330 6396 or email STEM-Ambassadors@glasgow.ac.uk

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