On the 20th October 2021, InvestIN hosted Succeeding in STEM: a bespoke webinar designed for parents who wish to support their children in their pursuit of a career in STEM.
The event was led by Ella Podmore (lead materials engineer for McLaren Automotive) who delivered key advice on building a career, the skills needed, what children can do to get involved in STEM early and what parents can do to support them.
Below is a brief summary of the key takeaways with an additional downloadable resource pack.
What is STEM?
STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, the subjects that aim to understand the world we live in.
STEM forms the basis of almost everything we do in our technology-driven society, both inside and outside our home. From plants and nature (science) to our phones and computers (technology), to travelling in cars, trains and planes (engineering), to cooking, using precise measurements and timings (maths!), we are immersed in STEM.
In recent times STEM has expanded a step further to include Medicine (STEMM) and the Arts (STEAM).
In the UK, STEM teaching is now grounded in real-world examples. Using project-based learning and modern technology, students get to see the practical applications of their learning in a context that helps them see the connection between the classroom and the world around them.
What are STEM careers?
As society has grown and technology has become more integrated into our lives, STEM careers have become increasingly in demand. Careers in these sectors are important for things like food production, healthcare and leisure. As our reliance on technology increases in these sectors, so does our need for more skilled individuals.
Top STEM Careers
STEM careers cover a wide range of fields including:
- Computer Science
- Civil Engineering
- Environmental Science
- Data Analysis
- Sports Science
- Motorsport Engineering
- Software Development
- Bio-tissue Research
- Cosmetic Science
- Web Development
Why is STEM education important?
The importance of STEM education lies in its ability to teach critical thinking and problem-solving skills, the type of learning that helps to fuel innovative solutions.
As the STEM sector continues to grow and outpace other fields, there is a growing demand for more STEM-educated professionals.
Unfortunately, women and minorities remain underrepresented in STEM industries. To truly reach all facets of society and create clever solutions it is important that we encourage and assist more people from varied backgrounds to pursue these careers.
Benefits of STEM Careers
There are a whole host of reasons why STEM careers are a great option for your child.
STEM graduates have excellent earning potential.
High demand coupled with a lack of qualified candidates means starting salaries in STEM professions are high, and are more likely to increase exponentially as experience is gained. According to the American Engineering Association, STEM graduates make 87% more than their non-STEM counterparts.
“A graduate entering the profession will be offered a very competitive starting salary and benefits package. It depends on the company but most companies offer attractive perks because the demand for good people is so high. Most places I’ve worked I have been given private healthcare, gym membership, 30 days off (plus bank holidays), free lunches and an allowance to spend on travel and learning resources. I’ve also been able to work from home whenever I want.”
Victoria Sloane, Front-end Software Engineer. Check out the full interview: A Day in the Life of a Software Engineer.
Growing Career Fields
As technology develops, so too do STEM fields, meaning an increase in jobs and opportunities available. Employment in STEM occupations has increased by almost 80% since 1990 and in 2021 STEM graduates are in high demand.
With different sectors continually growing (software development is projected to grow by 22% in the next seven years) there will always be ample opportunities for those with STEM training. On top of this, STEM underpins a huge range of sectors - from energy to healthcare to aviation - meaning there's a STEM career out there for everyone.
STEM-related jobs have reported some of the highest satisfaction rates - good news for aspiring STEM professionals! In 2021, Data Scientist was rated as the best job with a projected growth of 33%. The more the industry grows, the more opportunities there will be for professionals to develop which means happier employees!
“Hours as an engineer are quite good. I’d say the work-life balance is one of the best out of all the industries. When I talk to my friends who went into finance, law or medicine, they’re all so busy.”
Bhavik Bhatt, Thermofluids Engineer at Rolls-Royce. Hear more from Bhavik in our interview, A Day in the Life of an Engineer.
Impact on the World
STEM careers have a positive impact on society. They are right at the centre of innovation in medical technology, engineering, robotics and more!
People who work in STEM have the opportunity to make discoveries that could benefit society for years to come.
The ability to innovate, discover, learn and impact society in such major ways is one of the many reasons STEM careers are one of the most exciting places to be in the working world.
What can your child do now?
There are loads of ways your child can start exploring their passion for STEM and developing key employability skills that will help prepare them for a STEM career.
Some ideas to get started early:
- Encourage your child to start taking part in small projects that will help develop their interests.
- Keep a portfolio of projects they have done with photos, explanations and learnings.
- Encourage them to pursue hobbies and interests both in and outside school by joining clubs and societies.
- Help your child develop their software skills (our resource pack will have some places to start!)
- Support them in their development of key soft skills (teamwork, problem-solving, time management, etc.) that are essential to STEM careers. Encourage participation in team activities like sports and music groups, part-time work or volunteering.
- Enrol them in our Young Engineer Programmes! InvestIN career experiences are great for hands-on learning and skill development. Plus, get detailed guidance on how to succeed in STEM!
- STEM is a rapidly growing industry with a lot of room for growth and development.
- It covers a vast array of roles in different industries, from medicine to engineering to the environment, so there is a role for everyone.
- Benefits include high salaries, job satisfaction and diverse roles and environments.
- If you can encourage your child to find where their passion lies early they can start developing the soft and hard skills necessary for a career in STEM!
Start Now with our free Succeeding in STEM Resource Pack!
To keep the discussion going with other parents, and for more useful resources, join our InvestIN Community Parent Group on LinkedIn.
Not sure how to help your child choose a career? An InvestIN programme offers a comprehensive insight into an industry, so students can test drive a career before committing to it. Industry experts will guide your child through immersive career simulations, hands-on activities and inspiring site visits, whilst also giving detailed advice on how to succeed. View our STEM Programmes.