Academy9 Roadshow; Bringing Careers to Life.

Last week we brought the careers of a geologist, ecologist and engineer to life when visiting 60 P6 pupils from Pitlochry Primary and Breadalbane Academy, to deliver Academy9’s Roadshow event.  By learning from those directly involved in these roles on a live infrastructure project on their doorstep, pupils get a first-hand experience of some of the tasks these people undertake on their day to day jobs. 


During our Ecologists session, ‘Nature Detective’ pupils used their investigative skills to find evidence of animals in the wild. 


During the Geologists session, ‘Ground Underneath Our Feet’ pupils explored different ground conditions and which are best for building on.


During our Engineers session, ‘Think Like An Engineer’ the pupils used problem solving and maths to come up with a route option for a new road, avoiding typical constraints such as bogs, wildlife and mountains.

The pupils expressed interest in pursuing careers in ecology, geology and engineering which is great news as these sectors are facing skills shortages.

There are several reasons for the lack of seasoned professionals in these fields.

Following the 2008 financial crash, conservation projects – often connected with infrastructure development – were scaled back[1]. Many businesses had to reduce their headcount which led to experienced professionals leaving or having to leave their jobs[2].

There has also been a decline of apprenticeships from the mid-1970s[3] and tight university budgets have made it harder to teach hands-on field work, which is time-consuming and expensive[4]. Graduates are often expected to undertake voluntary work to convert theory into practice[5].

Sectors, like engineering, are additionally facing the impending retirement of an aging workforce. 19.5%[6] of engineers currently working in the UK are due to retire by 2026, leaving a skills, knowledge and experience gap.

As the issue of the UK’s skills gap across all STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) is long-running[7], long-term initiatives and interventions are needed to tackle the skills gaps and to meet governments’ aspirations of sustainable development. By working with pupils from primary to secondary school age, Academy9 can showcase the variety and attractiveness of potential careers to pupils.

For more stories like these see our latest news page. For careers based resources to use with your young people see our resources pages.

[1] Nature Experts Like ‘Gold Dust’ as Shortage Threatens UK Targets, Jack Graham (2003),

[2] Evidence on Closing the STEM Skills Gap – Written Evidence Submitted by the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Enviornmental Management, UK Parliament (2017),

[3] You’re Hired – Apprenticeships Since the 1950s, UK Parliament (2012),

[4] Nature Experts Like ‘Gold Dust’ as Shortage Threatens UK Targets, Jack Graham

[5] ibid.

[6] Engineerinng Construction Industry Training Board, The Supply and Demand for Engineers (2018),

[7] Action Needed Across Government to Secure a High-Skilled STEM Workforce for the UK, UK Parliament (2022),

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