Employers and Universities: Work with us?

Success at School pilots STEM skills event in Tees Valley

Last week, Success at School piloted our first STEM event at Riverside Stadium in Middlesborough, discussing how maths teachers and careers advisors could incorporate workplace skills into the classroom. A key aim was to help schools deliver on Gatsby Benchmark 4, linking curriculum learning to careers, part of their statutory careers requirement.

The event was open to schools and colleges from the Tees Valley area, and one of our guests was engineering firm Jacobs.

Jacobs' STEM Ambassador Richard Parkin had this to say about the event:

Last week Sam Hill, Shaheen Khalifa and I attended the Success at School event at the Riverside Stadium. This was a pilot event, the first of its kind hosted by Success at School, where maths teachers and careers advisors from the Tees Valley area were invited to discuss how employers such as Jacobs can help embed a practical element into current standard of maths teaching. In others words…how the work we do on a day to day basis could be replicated in the classroom.

Success at School are a national careers website for students aged 13-19. Their aim is to help young people make informed decisions about their future through advice and the informative content they have produced. Over the last few years they have developed a series of very impressive packages for STEM subjects which can be distributed and introduced to schools. The packages include information on how each subject is implemented in different industries (Finance, Engineering, IT, accounting etc.) and a large amount of teachable content including scenario questions, workshops and lesson structures. The package aims to show students how what they are learning in the classroom is used in the working world.

The event last week focused on Maths. As part of the event Jacobs were invited to talk through apprenticeships/career opportunities for young people at Jacobs and demonstrate how the Maths we use on a day to day basis could be taught in the classroom. After introducing Jacobs, talking through the services we provide and speaking on our experiences as an apprentice/graduate, myself and Sam Hill put on a workshop for the teachers and career advisors in attendance. The workshop was based around a structural analysis task that we typically give to the work experience students that visit the office. The task simplifies structural analysis and involves a series of calculations to determine loads acting on a beam and determine a beam section size to withstand those loads. After introducing the task we allowed the teachers to work through the task themselves, with help from us if they needed it - they needed it.

Although only scratching the surface, the technical workshop put together received very positive feedback. The teachers felt that they would be comfortable giving it to their students. It was funny to see maths teachers and careers advisors struggle with our live examples and some of the key concepts we use.

Following the workshop, Shaheen Khalifa joined us for a question and answer session with the teachers and careers advisors. They had plenty of ideas of how STEM ambassadors can better connect with local schools and therefore inspire the younger students.

When students are making decisions about their future they are heavily influenced by teachers, careers advisors and parents. Targeting these networks helps them to understand the amount of opportunities Jacobs has to offer. Our talent acquisition team are hopeful that these events grow into something bigger, and that Jacobs can be involved to target local talent, especially to promote our apprentice opportunities.

We are delighted to have run such a successful event for both both schools and employers. In the coming months, we look forward to turning our pilot into a series of regular events to help schools incorporate real-life career scenarios into the curriculum. Watch this space!

If you're an employer or industry body and would like to learn more about how you can partner with us to help schools link curriculum learning to careers, please email reach@successatschool.org.