Perspectives

Inspiring Scottish Students into STEM: Building essential skills for our future

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During the industrial revolution, Scotland was regarded as one of the world’s main shipbuilding nations. At one point a fifth of all ships in the world were made on the River Clyde, and with this came jobs for young people, meaning that after you left school, you went straight into an apprenticeship.  Fast forward to 2021 and whilst some ships are still being built here, Scotland is embracing a different kind of industrial revolution – a technology revolution that will offer new opportunities for young people in Scotland.

Here at Glasgow Science Centre, we want to ensure that the city’s young people are ready and have the skills needed for jobs of the future.   Our vision is a Scotland where all people feel empowered through learning and engagement with science to make a positive difference in their lives, their communities and to society. Through our STEM Futures project funded by JP Morgan we want to equip young people with 21st century skills, and better prepare them to pursue a career in a STEM related industry by the time they leave school. We especially focus on young people in areas of multiple deprivation who would not have had the opportunity or exposure to these industry sectors leading the technology revolution.  Through our collaboration with industry partners, we are able to provide up to date sector knowledge and career insight which would be useful in helping young people plan for their future.

The STEM Futures programme has recently partnered with IBM to create engaging online content which can be delivered virtually to schools across Scotland.  The content was designed and developed with a user led approach involving four of our foundation apprentices at Glasgow Science Centre to ensure it would be relevant and engaging to a younger audience. This has resulted in the Cyber Security Innovation Workshop, which we are running as part of Cyber Scotland Week 2021 and Scottish Apprenticeship Week.

In this exciting online challenge, pupils will operate in different roles at an airport that is under attack from a cyber threat. They will learn how hackers think and discover the skills required to deal with a major incident in an organisation whilst also learning the importance of being cyber aware. This one-hour workshop has been designed for S3/S4 pupils in mind and will also highlight the range of career opportunities within the cyber security sector to young people with real life examples from IBM staff.

We have been blown away by the demand for these workshops and have had to extend the sessions by another week to fit in all the schools. Around 1500 young people from 47 schools right across Scotland are expected to attend. Following this workshop, young people can attend a further workshop for more in depth careers support and also gain some industry recognised work experience via IBM’s Open P-TECH programme which has been specially created for young people aged 14-20. We will also work in partnership with IBM to raise awareness of careers in the industry with teachers and how the Open P-TECH platform can bring the curriculum to life for their pupils.

The partnership with IBM has been crucial for the success of the STEM Futures programme and we really value the importance of this relationship in helping to better prepare young people for their future careers.

Glasgow Science Centre: For more information contact stemfuturesbookings@gsc.org.uk

IBM: For more information go to open.ptech.org or contact CSRUK@uk.ibm.com

Glasgow Science Centre Chief Executive

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