Louise Chisholm is Programme Manager of Skills Development Scotland’s My World of Work Live! She talks about its success so far in inspiring young people and teachers when it comes to STEM careers, and some of the exciting partnerships it involves.
Scotland has a world-leading reputation in a range of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) industries including life sciences, chemical sciences, games technology, astrophysics and cosmology.
But 45% of employers currently face difficulties recruiting STEM-skilled staff and 59% expect difficulty in the next three years. Women, ethnic minority groups and those with additional support needs are all under-represented in STEM related roles.
My World of Work Live! is one of the ways Skills Development Scotland (SDS) is helping to do just that.
What we do
My World of Work Live! is a set of interactive exhibits and activities designed to inspire young people’s interest in STEM careers.
Every free, fun My World of Work Live! experience is about hands-on learning – building, making, designing – and makes the best use of the latest technology to engage and inspire.
Our team brings STEM out of the classroom and into real life and helps young people, parents, carers and teachers understand the breadth of opportunity STEM careers offer and the variety of pathways into STEM industries.
The programme’s in locations where young people experience the world of STEM such as science centres and other venues. Current locations are Glasgow Science Centre, National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, the Digital Studio and Careers Lab at the SDS Careers Centre in Inverness and Mareel Arts Centre in Lerwick.
Our core audience is young people aged between 10 and 15, especially those who may be making subject choices.
Young people develop their career management skills and will make links between the world of work and what they’re learning in the classroom. That learning can continue after their visit as teachers can access a wealth of accompanying learning resources on our award-winning career information and advice web service My World of Work.
All of those working on My World of Work Live! have a passion for industry, education and learning.
We work with partners who share our goals and our delivery approach provides ways of engaging with young people that they are familiar with.
We have already developed a Minecraft Careers World in partnership with education consultancy Immersive Minds, and this month announced our status as the first LEGO® Education Innovation studio in Scotland.
We’ve teamed up with CITB, Heriot-Watt University and Animmersion on virtual reality careers activities and are working on exciting activities with Clyde Space and global thought leader the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.
Our feedback from young people has been fantastic, with 97% of pupils we spoke to between April and September 2016 saying they are more likely to think about studying science subjects or technology at school, with 94% more likely to look for more information about jobs and careers in science and technology.
Understanding and supporting parents, carers and teachers as key influencers of young people who’re making decisions about their future is an integral part of our programme.
We offer CPD for teachers, many of whom have reported to us that My World of Work Live! helped their understanding of STEM jobs and what they involve, and 100% telling us My World of Work Live! is likely to increase pupils’ enthusiasm for STEM related lessons.
After one of our sessions for parents and carers one happy parent commented: ‘It makes these careers more accessible at an earlier age, it’s a fab thing.’
This month we held our first events aimed specifically at parents and carers at our My World of Work Live! venues in Inverness and Shetland. The workshops were delivered in partnership with SSE to allow an insight into the breadth of careers on offer in the energy sector in the North of Scotland, and how apprenticeships have a vital part to play.
This work supports that of our dedicated Careers Advisers in schools, centres and community venues across Scotland.
To find out more about My World of Work Live! and to access booking details for your school group check out myworldofwork.co.uk/live