SDS news: National STEM event at South Lanarkshire Council

Uddingston Grammar Head Teacher John McKay, Frank, SDS Careers Adviser Donna Robertson and SDS Acting Director of Operations James Russell.

Frank Devine, SDS Careers Adviser at Uddingston Grammar School, tells us more about a recent event supporting teachers to encourage young people to consider STEM careers.  ‘We understand the influential role teachers play in young people’s careers choices.

Part of our role as Scotland’s national careers service is to ensure we work closely with, and support teachers to, offer the support young people need to make informed career decisions.  That was the main driver behind our recent Career Gap event.   Working with South Lanarkshire Council’s Developing the Young Workforce co-ordinator as well as a group of local teachers, our aim was to give teachers across the area help to support pupils to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and maths.

More than 50 attended, from 18 local area secondary schools.

By tapping in to the wealth of expertise and knowledge on offer across SDS, we were able to offer a full day programme looking at the subject from a variety of angles – equalities, career management skills and employer need.

Our National Training Programmes team supported the day to raise awareness of the ways unconscious bias could be stopping some pupils, especially young women, progressing in STEM.

They brought in Improving Gender Balance Scotland project officer Charlotte Govan to give some cold hard numbers on subject uptake, and the impact that has further down on employment, as well as practical ways of combatting unconscious bias.

Our employer team helped to put us in touch with employers and apprentices to tell teachers their stories, offer ideas on support that could be helpful to pupils now, and talk about what it’s really like to work in STEM industries. BT, BAE and Scotland Energy and Utility Skills all attended on the day.

My colleague Donna Robertson and I were able to give more information on career management skills, career long professional learning modules we offer, the support resources available to teachers via My World of Work and more detail on SDS careers services in schools.

All the teachers who attended took away packs with more information on the support SDS offers, and we’ll be creating further lesson plans and resources to share with all the teachers who attended.

This wasn’t just a chance at CPD for teachers, but offered us the chance to develop the skills of young people from the area too. Recent graduate Stephen Benedetti lent his sound engineer skills for the podium and round table mics, and sixth year Uddingston pupil Adam McKibben snapped pictures for us on the day which were used on the SDS website and social media.

Partnership working was key to the success of the event, as it is to all the work SDS is involved in.

Donna and I are really proud of the strength of the partnerships we have here in South Lanarkshire.  We work closely with all members of the school staff, including subject teachers, pastoral care teachers and the senior management team, the local authority and with partner organisations working within education and with our customers across the area.

It’s those strong partnerships that allow us to stage not just major one-off events like this, but to ensure day-to-day we are offering the best service we can to our customers.

Our recent Education Scotland review shows our hard work is paying off.

If you want to find out more about the support SDS can offer teachers, speak to your school careers adviser for latest information and events and find out about support resources we offer at My World of Work here.

You can also access CLPL modules on the Career Education Standard, labour market information, career management skills and My World of Work at this page.

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