STEM meets MINT
Start date: Jun 1, 2015,
End date: May 31, 2016
CONTEXT/BACKGROUND OF PROJECT
STEM subjects - science, technology, engineering and maths - are essential to keep pace in the technological race that fuels the global economy today. In the UK 59% of employers and 71% of universities said there aren’t enough people being trained to the standard needed - and it is predicted it would take at least ten years to tackle the problem according to a report produced by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in October 2013. As noted in the 'Improving Diversity in STEM' May 2014 report by the Campaign for Science and Engineering: "Studying STEM subjects at school, college or university opens doors to a huge range of careers. There isn't a typical 'STEM job' and yet there is a persistent 'STEM stereotype' that is learned at a young age, mirrored in workforce demographics, which needs to be deconstructed. We need to facilitate equality of opportunity and encourage under-represented groups into STEM careers.
This mobility project seeks to immerse young people in the very specific STEM-based industrial sector of renewable energy technology. After the programme, the participants will have a good understanding of renewable energy technologies. Our partner, Christiani, as both a manufacturer of renewable energy equipment and a VET provider in Germany, has arranged an itinerary to train participants through practical workshops and project-based activity over two weeks. Our objectives are:
1) to raise aspirations and fuel motivation of participants to seek a STEM based career by illustrating the exciting and challenging nature of the work to be found in this industry
2) to give participants the qualifications to assist in the undertaking of an Energy Audit in a commercial and domestic property so that they are able to make sound and reasonable recommendations to the owners on improving energy efficiency.
Through our dissemination plan we will promote the mobility and those that travel will be used as advocates amongst their peers, teaching staff and governors of their schools to increase interest in STEM. This will be used as a template as the sort of initiative that should be used to address the major issue highlighted earlier.
PROFILE OF PARTICIPANTS
There will be 100 young people from disadvantaged backgrounds aged 16-18 selected from Academy schools in the Nottinghamshire/Derbyshire area to participate in this project. Gender will be mixed and we are hoping for a 50/50 split. Disadvantaged groups will be targeted and we are hoping to actively promote ethnic minority students into the programme as this group is severely under-represented in the renewable energy industry.
ACTIVITIES AND METHODOLOGY
The project activities involve experiencing innovative and sophisticated deployments of renewable energy so that learners can understand the significance and possibilities of the technologies. Learners will see renewable technologies up close and will complete tests and experiments to further their knowledge in renewables. Learning will be through vocational methods with as much teaching being 'hands on' as possible.
RESULTS AND IMPACT
It is hoped that following this programme, the vast majority of the learners will be encouraged into STEM based apprenticeships, university courses or employment. SASIE, as one of Nottingham's market leaders in renewables, will also encourage students into internships or work experience in the industry and may be able to assist with placements. Learners will gain a recognised qualification as well as the softer 'employability' skills which are mandatory for a successful career.
LONG TERM BENEFITS
The intention is that many of the students completing this programme will embark upon careers in the energy industry; specifically the renewable energy industry. Furthermore, we hope that the majority of these learners will undertake further training and education specifically related to renewable energy, and that they will become skilled, competent workers; operatives such as this are severely lacking in the UK renewable energy industry.
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