Tristan Luton, Early Careers Consultants, UCAS
We all have in-built pre-concieved bias, it’s a natural thing to have. But attempting to remove these and immersing young people in STEM workshops could spark more interest.
This isn’t about questioning the career path a STEM subject can offer, that investigation can come further down the line.
This is about encouraging those who are sceptical to try a STEM subject, without necessarily knowing it.
The idea is that by facilitating a fun, low pressure coding workshop (for instance) girls could find they have a real aptitude for it.
If we take careers in coding and software development, for example – which can often feel intimidating for many people – we could try to increase awareness and interest in two ways.
Firstly, if we believe a crucial skill for success is logic, we would work with a school to set up a series of logic problems that were loosely connected to coding. A project like this would allow the students to gain an insight into the career in a fun and engaging way.
Secondly, a lot of people think that the industry doesn’t involve much people interaction.
So, creating situational problem-solving scenarios, that give people a chance to see how software developers must communicate effectively with each other and those in the wider team (e.g. sales, product, design, management, etc.) should be encouraged.
Workshops such as these could be extended to other subjects and potential careers so we start to see a real immersion into the STEM world in schools in a fun environment. The more fun, the more we can break down any ingrained ideas and open up minds to the possibilities of STEM.
We don’t want to put round pegs in squares holes of course but we do need to find ways to ensure young people don’t self exclude from subjects before giving them a try.