At a Business and Education linking event at Gateshead International Stadium it was clear that there is a slight disconnect when it comes to using STEM ambassadors.
Industry has a vital part to play in ensuring that our young people have experience of and access to a “real” work atmosphere. Some students especially females are not considering a career in engineering because they fear it is heavy “dirty” work. These perceptions are based on out dated ideas of engineering maybe given to them by their parents and or teachers. Students need to have access to the world of work to see how people really work together and how they organise their days to make sure they are ready for work. The North East is busy undergoing significant development in new industries but also in older manufacturing and engineering industries but these industries are taking advantage of state of the art technologies to make the way the workplace is defined different form the past. The word needs to get out to young people about the opportunities that are available in these areas and to demystify the idea of the more traditional industries being labour intensive and dirty. Schools and business working together will change this but not at the expense of schools becoming incubators the work force supply chain. Schools need to ensure that all young people reach their potential and support them to aspire to be the best. A Lithuanian colleague talks about being the “best of the best”. That for me is good enough and whatever our young people want to get involved in they should aspire to this and be happy.