Building STEM Capital in our young people; what is it and why would you want to?
STEM includes sciences (biology, chemistry & physics), technology (including digital and computing science), engineering (all types) and mathematics. We know that the skills learned through STEM are valued by many employers including those in non-STEM related industries. We also know that in Scotland there are many jobs opportunities for young people within STEM related industries and that the number of these are rising!
A big issue for some young people is that while they enjoy these subjects at school, they don’t see themselves continuing into later study in these subjects or that it might be a potential career. In their words: “It’s not for the likes of me”.
What do young people mean by this? How can we change this mind-set? How can we boost their STEM self-confidence?
Science capital refers to all the experiences in a young person’s life that might help them have STEM self-confidence: realising that STEM is in everyday life, knowing or seeing someone like themselves in that role, having an interest in STEM nurtured at school and at home.
It takes the shared actions of parents, teachers and organisations to help develop and grow a young person’s science capital over time. As a parent – talk to your children about where they see science and technology in everyday life and encourage them to think about how that relates to all sorts of jobs and careers (not just those in science and engineering). You don’t need to know the answers, just help them to grow in confidence asking the questions.
There are many resources available to inspire young people and to help them improve their science capital. Visit some of the links below for inspiration:
- Do some fun science experiments at home.
- Support your local school’s after-school STEM club.
- Take your kids to science and discovery centres to experience STEM in action.
- Take your kids to a planetarium to find out more about astronomy.
- Visit a local zoo.
- Support conversations with your child about careers using science and maths.
- Video Link: https://www.bp.com/en_gb/united-kingdom/home/community/stem-education/stem-skills-gap-science-capital.html