Skills Fusion is a VFX film careers outreach programme. Funded by Creative Skillset (http://www.creativeskillset.org/) , the Sector Skills Council for the Creative Industries, its aim is to highlight the skills shortage that the UK film industry faces in this sector and the opportunities, particularly in the more technical specialist roles that rely on strong educational foundations in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths), and computer science subjects, available to students.

Young people concentrating on these areas very often do not know, or realise that rewarding careers based on STEM subjects are possible in the creative industries, nor that many of computer generated imagery (CGI), that they see on the big screen, have been created here in the UK and not Hollywood. 

It is recognised through the landmark report published by NESTA – The Next Gen Report – http://www.nesta.org.uk/publications/next-gen, that there is a knowledge gap between the classroom and jobs, and that without an intervention such as Skills Fusion, the UK film industry will not be able to maintain its position as a leading country to do business in the global marketplace.

The intention of Skills Fusion through its resources, attending conferences, working with schools, participating in career fairs, engaging STEM orientated school clubs and cascading information through career advisor networks, that it can inspire and spark that initial interest to potentially fully fledged careers, career paths, which they might not have otherwise considered.

If you would be interested in copies of the specially commissioned careers resource or have opportunities for someone to come to your school to talk about Skills Fusion, participate in an event/teachers CPD session or present a film careers talk to students, please get in touch with yen.yau@intofilm.org (Talent Development Manager, Into Film)

Meet Roma Agrawal
Date: 25th April
Time: 9:30 – 10.30am
Sign up here:
http://bit.ly/leaderswardforstem

 

 Roma Agrawal (www.romatheengineer.com) , an Associate Structural Engineer at WSP, will be talking to students about her career and her role in designing bridges, skyscrapers and sculptures with signature architects over her eight year career.  She will then take questions from the students in the studio and logged in on GLOW TV. 

Roma Agrawal is being interviewed to encourage students to engage with The Leaders Award for STEM (www.leadersaward.com).

Over the last year the learning technologies team in Argyll and Bute have been providing additional exciting, computer science related learning opportunities for young people at primary level.

The long-term goal of this project is to capture the imagination of young people, to showcase what can be created and inspire through technology.

Before commencing this project we were very aware that our young people had excellent ICT skills and made very good use of technology.  However, this project is about equipping young people at primary level with skills and knowledge to turn computing ideas into concepts, improve their understanding of how technologies work and gain some understanding of the concepts involved in computer programming. 

We feel that this project is important to the economy of Argyll and Bute, particularly as we want to offer our young people as much choice as possible in where they live and work.  We feel that the technology sector provides a number of remote working and company start up opportunities.  Additionally we are very aware that almost every field of employment now relies on technology, and our challenge is to prepare young people for jobs that may not even exist yet.

Our team has so far supported approximately 50 primary schools by providing expertise to assist them in commencing a computer programming related project.  We work with each school on an individual basis and the projects vary depending on the schools learning outcomes, expertise and available equipment. 

Our approach has been to offer centrally hosted CPD sessions for staff whilst working directly with pupils in schools.  We feel that technology related learning provides excellent pupil led and peer learning opportunities.  It is however interesting to note that in the majority of cases the pupils’ knowledge of technology quickly overtakes that of the teachers.  Subsequently, we are seeing teachers taking up more of a facilitator role in technology related learning. 

An important part of this project was to establish a loan bank of equipment.  This has given our team the opportunity to showcase a variety of technologies whilst allowing us to loan schools suitable equipment.  In addition this provides the school with an opportunity to try out various technologies before committing to a purchase. 

The two most popular activities in our schools so far are Kodu and Lego Wedo.   However schools have also being using Raspberry Pi, Lego Mindstorms, Scratch, PicoBoard for Scratch, LiveCode and .net gadgeteer.  

We have been very much encouraged by the enthusiasm and passion our young people exhibit towards technology.  We have found that about 97% of the young people have fully engaged with activities such as Kodu and have shown a real desire to learn the basics of computer programming. 

This project has provided a number of opportunities for the young people of Argyll and Bute to share their learning and skills.  We have seen pupils presenting and demonstrating technology projects at workshops.  Some of these young people have stated that as a result of this they feel more confident in using technology but also as individuals too.  In addition to this we have a number of schools establishing lunchtime, afterschool computing clubs and some schools appointing pupil ICT mentors.

The next step for this project is to implement a pupil self-evaluation framework in order that we can better measure the impact of learning computer programming in primary schools.

Education Scotland has produced a new sciences resource guide.

This is a comprehensive information document for anyone with an interest in STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

Details regarding how to access our main science website, Journey to Excellence videos, blogs, NQ materials and Tigtag are available, alongwith a number of useful links to other relevant websites and organisations.

To download click : Sciences Resource Guide

Special Seminar for Teachers – 3.30pm Friday 25th of April Royal Highland Centre

Need a greater understanding of the automotive industry to pass onto your learners? Transport Scotland, the Energy Saving Trust and their partners will provide an insight into the developments within the automotive sector and how Scotland is helping shape the future, with specific focus on low emission transport including low-carbon, hybrid, electric and hydrogen vehicles. The seminar will include case studies and examples of innovation to help shape courses and prepare learners to take advantage of this newly emerging and rapidly changing market. Please register your interest by emailing charlotte.cassar@psigroupltd.co.uk

Or you can just come along and enjoy the EVOLUTION show on 26th April and test drive new generation cars. FREE entry. Register at: www.evolutionshow.co.uk

National Science & Engineering Week (NSEW) is a ten-day national programme of science, technology, engineering and maths events and activities across the UK aimed at people of all ages.

Anyone can organise an event or activity and the British Science Association supports organisers by providing:

Activity packs

National school poster competition

Mass participation in Flusurvey project

Case studies

How to guides

Our new activity packs include: 

Explore the future- for primary schools

Community garden challenge – for secondary schools 

Get engineering II – in partnership with Engineering UK (coming up)

Cracking chemistry, in partnership with Royal Society of Chemistry

This year organisers can celebrate anything related to science, technology, engineering and maths. The sky is the limit!

However, for schools, Explore the Future will be the common theme across competitions, new resources and online projects, to encourage teachers and other educators to look forward to the world their students will lead.

For further information :

http://www.britishscienceassociation.org/national-science-engineering-week

“Engineering turnover has grown 2.2% over the past four years to £1.1 trillion in the year ending March 2012.  5.4 million people are employed across 565, 320 engineering enterprises but we need many more engineers!

Engineering companies are projected to need 1.86 million people with engineering skills between 2010 and 2020.  This mean we need double the numbers of engineering related apprentices and graduates coming out of college and universities.”

Facts from Engineering UK 2014 – http://www.engineeringuk.com/View/?con_id=441

Within Engineering Science National 4/5/Higher the engineering contexts and challenges unit is an opportunity to bring engineering to life and to deepen the learners understanding of how engineering plays a part in their local community.

We have an opportunity for one group of learners studying national 4 or 5 or Higher to work with Edinburgh Trams and to see engineering in a real world context, in and out of the classroom.

http://www.edinburghtrams.com/

This will be based on a first come first serve basis, if you are interested please contact kirsty.mcfaul@educationscotland.gov.uk for more details.

Would you like to win £1000 for your school or group?

Enter Scotland’s Environment Website Youth Discussion competition by 31 March for a chance to win.

 

We have £1000 to award to the best school/group entry and £100 for the best individual entry. We have lots of other exciting prizes including HP tablets, educational experience days with a “green” theme, a backstage tour of The Hydro and tickets to the Irn Bru Carnival 2014.

To enter, just answer the following question: “What needs to change in your local community that will make a positive difference to your environment and what role can you play in making it happen?” then submit your answer in an imaginative way.

Follow the link for further information about this competition and to get an entry form: www.environment.scotland.gov.uk/yd 

The competition is easy to enter and is relevant to many areas of the curriculum including drama, art, science, English and even modern languages.  This means entering the competition can easily be dovetailed into current project work or class topics.   The competition entry rules are very flexible which enables teachers to choose the level of input they feel is appropriate and suitable for their pupils. A number of useful teaching aids and resources have been developed that provide a good starting point.

You can choose to present your answer in a number of formats from a simple drawing, painting or report to something more complex such as a video, website or photographic essay; be as creative as you want!

The competition is open to all young Scots aged between 5 and 18 years old and you can enter as an individual or as a group e.g. Eco Group, class, youth group. The closing date is 31 March 2014 so there is still time to enter – what are you waiting for?

Your entry may also be eligible for the Young Reporters for the Environment competition. It is being run in Scotland by Keep Scotland Beautiful and is open to young people aged 11 to 21 years.

First Minister announces funding to attract up to 11,000 jobs.

Scotland’s digital technologies sector will benefit from £6.6 million to boost its internationally renowned reputation for cutting-edge expertise, the First Minister Alex Salmond announced today (Tuesday 11 March, 2014).

The funding will support digital skills and address actions set out in the information and communications technology (ICT) and digital technologies Skills Investment Plan, which was also published today by the First Minister, on a visit to officially open the new Edinburgh premises of CodeBase, Scotland largest digital incubator company.

The announcement comes during Make Young People Your Business Week which focuses on promoting the digital technologies sector as a career option to a younger audience while celebrating Scottish successes in the industry.

The plan includes actions such as:
• Responding to the immediate skills shortage by developing an industry led talent academy model in summer 2014 to support the demand of up to 11,000 jobs per year
• Offering more opportunities to increase female participation in the digital sector
• Aligning education systems to employers need and supporting employer engagement with schools
• Delivering 750 work placements for FE/HE students by 2016

Scotland’s ICT and digital technologies sectors deliver £3 billion to the Scottish economy and currently employs 73,000 digital technology professionals. There is huge global demand for Scottish expertise and talent in this sector and today’s announcement will help maintain Scotland’s position as a key player in the global arena.

For more details follow the links below.

The SDS/Scottish Government press release is here – http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/-6-6m-for-digital-Scotland-a3c.aspx

 The SIP has also been uploaded to SDS Skills Force website – www.ourskillsforce.co.uk/ict-and-digital-technologies-skills-investment-plan/

 BBC Coverage –  www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-26528176.

 Just as a reminder to  follow the Make Young People Your Business Week on twitter, use #DigiSkills.

Delegates attending our fourth conversation day at Bucksburn Academy identified three key themes for improving science education.

Discussions focussed on:

  1.  Priorities for sciences education
  2. Identifying partnerships that work
  3. What does great learning in the sciences look like?

Education Scotland is keen to hear your views regarding the second theme which addressed identifying partnerships that work.

Identifying partnerships that work

Delegates identified various partner organisations that they were engaging with including subsea 7, forest rangers, ABC, mentoring John Lewis, STEM ambassadors, car safety, BP renewable, Forvie Nature reserve, university medical students, Zoo lab, forensic scientists, “curious about chemistry”. Learners at Bucksburn Academy had also set up a programme of advanced level lunchtime lectures in relation to STEM.

Delegates put forward suggestions for successful partnership working. It was agreed that this had to be mutually beneficial, providing support, resources and expertise for the school, whilst meeting the business needs of the organisation. In addition delegates highlighted the following:

  • organisation must provide support in the classroom and visit the school (not the other way)
  • partnerships should be innovative, curriculum led, embedded in the curriculum
  • personnel involved are enthusiastic individuals with a willingness to commit extra time to establish short/long term working relationship
  • investment and funding through the partnership provides opportunities for all

Delegates identified areas of partnership working which they regarded as requiring further development:

  • not enough organisations/partnerships to support early years
  • more visiting scientists lecturing at a high level – aspirations needed to be raised
  • speakers need to be able to pitch talk at right level for young people
  • mixture of input needed for different levels of interest required

Education Scotland is keen to hear your views. Click on the title of this blog post to leave a comment

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