SmartSTEMs, which is powered by EDF Energy, ran an event for the first time at Glasgow Clyde College’s Cardonald campus earlier this month (3 November). Two hundred and fifty children from the Glasgow, Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire and East Dunbartonshire areas were given the chance to find out more about the benefits of a career in STEM.
Research shows that science and tech jobs will grow twice as fast as other occupations between now and 2023 but there will not be enough graduates and apprentices to fill these roles. For example, there could be a 40% shortfall in engineering.
SmartSTEMs events target children aged 10 to 14 and aim to encourage more people from diverse backgrounds to study STEM subjects at school.
The pupils heard from keynote speaker Ally Watson, who co-founded ‘Code Like a Girl’ about her journey in STEM before they had the chance to take part in workshops on a range of subjects including coding, robotics and forensics.
They also had the chance to speak to a range of science, engineering and tech businesses about the jobs they could do in the future.
EDF Energy is the headline sponsor of SmartSTEMs and has helped its events reach more than 1,700 girls over the past seven months. The event at Glasgow Clyde College is the first to cater for both boys and girls.
Stuart Macdonald, founder of SmartSTEMs said: “We are delighted to pull together many wonderful industry partners and scores of generous volunteers to deliver this great event for these young boys and girls. Proud to be playing our part in making Scotland a great place to discover and pursue STEM careers.”
The partnership with SmartSTEMs is part of EDF Energy’s wider commitment to education which includes its ‘Pretty Curious’ programme; a drive to change the perception of STEM subjects and help address the lack of women entering the industry.
SmartSTEMs recently won the title of ‘Technology Networking Group of the Year’ at the Scottish Women in Technology awards.
EDF Energy’s Scottish Business Director, Paul Winkle, said: “EDF Energy employs more than 1300 people in Scotland mostly in the fields of science, technology, engineering and maths. We know that if Scotland is to tackle the energy challenges of the future it is important that we act now to address the projected skills shortage and ensure a diverse range of young people are excited about entering a career in these areas in the future.”
Jon Vincent, the Principal of Glasgow Clyde College said: “Glasgow Clyde College believes that a focus on STEM education for all sits at the heart of the development of our young and emerging workforce. We are delighted to welcome so many young pupils to the College today and hope that this SmartSTEMs event will inspire them to experience first-hand the range of exciting career options that exist.”