25 Jun 19

Glasgow pupils attend environmental STEM day

School children from across Glasgow have been challenged to think about how we can make the most of the resources we use as part of an event at City of Glasgow College run by charitable organisation SmartSTEMs and supported by Glasgow Chamber of Commerce Programmes Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) and Circular Glasgow alongside EDF Energy.

More than 120 pupils from primary 7, S1 and S2, gathered to hear from speakers and take part in workshops on the theme of the “circular economy”.

The circular economy aims to break the traditional cycle of make, use, dispose, and keep resources in use for as long as possible. The aim is to reduce waste and encourage a more competitive economy.

The pupils heard from Lesley Thomson from communications company Spreng Thomson and Christina Mackay, founder of textile company BeYonder Ltd. They also took part in a series of hands-on workshops.

For SmartSTEMs it was also an opportunity to help the pupils think about the careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) that might be open to them.

There are projected skills gaps in STEM sectors with research showing that in engineering alone 124,000 new recruits will be needed each year until 2024 to meet job demand[1].

Events run by charitable organisation SmartSTEMs target pupils aged 10 to 14 and aim to address these challenges and encourage more people from diverse backgrounds to study STEM subjects at school.

Today’s session was one of 20 SmartSTEMs plan to deliver in partnership with EDF Energy before the end of the year, reaching up to 5,000 pupils.

EDF Energy’s Scottish Business Director, Paul Winkle, said: “I’m delighted that EDF Energy is able to support this SmartSTEMs event at the City of Glasgow College. Encouraging the pupils to think about the circular economy and ways we can make better use of our resources will have helped the pupils to see real life uses for STEM skills and help them think about the kinds of jobs they might be able to do to make a difference in the future.  If we are to address the potential skills gaps in these sectors we need to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to find out about the careers available to them and feels empowered to pursue them.”

Douglas Morrison, Associate Director for Innovation and STEM at City of Glasgow College, said: “We are delighted to be hosting this event in partnership with Circular Glasgow, DYW Glasgow and SmartSTEMS. The adoption of circular practices is taking an increasingly prominent role in the college's engagement with business, as well as curriculum development; and we recognise the value in integrating circularity as a core philosophy in future activities.”

 Alison McRae, Senior Director at Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, which runs Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) Glasgow and Circular Glasgow said: 

“Environmental sustainability is a huge and growing issue, with so many of our natural resources in short supply and climate change ambitions buoyant in the media.  It is vital that we invest more time and energy into transitioning towards a circular economy model, and that is why Developing the Young Workforce Glasgow and Circular Glasgow are holding this event today – to help increase awareness of these issues amongst young people.

“The circular economy creates significant economic opportunities for businesses to innovate and become future proof – the drivers behind Circular Glasgow - and there will be a whole new raft of skills requirements around these. Without question, it will create new business and job opportunities for our young people, particularly around new and emerging technologies.  Already Scotland has a global reputation in STEM industries, ranging from the life sciences to games technology, computing to astrophysics.  This is a huge growth sector but there is so much more we can do.

“Through our schools and business partnerships, and wider industry links, DYW’s aim is to enrich the learning journey for young people and increase the number of employers engaging with education.  Offering young people the opportunity to train in a skill which could shape their future is a role we’re very proud of.  We are looking forward to working with our partners to deliver more exciting events like this in the future.”

Stuart Macdonald, of SmartSTEMs said: “We are delighted to pull together many wonderful industry partners and scores of generous volunteers to deliver this great event for these girls. Proud to be playing our part in making Scotland a great place to discover and pursue STEM careers.”

[1] https://www.engineeringuk.com/media/1576/7444_enguk18_synopsis_standalone_aw.pdf

For more information

Fiona McCall
External Communications Manager (Scotland)
(T) 01355 846281
(M) 07813 232 347