5 Mar 19

STEM event aims to inspire Renfrewshire school children

Around 80 children have been learning about the benefits of a career in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) at a college in Renfrewshire.

West College Scotland’s Paisley campus hosted the SmartSTEMs event today which was supported by headline sponsor EDF Energy. This is the first time West College Scotland has hosted a SmartSTEMs event.

The pupils aged between 10 and 14, from schools across the area, heard from Jack Sargeant from the Glasgow Science Centre and Carmen Cummiskey from equestrian equipment company Teqnox. They also took part in a series of hands-on workshops including ones on “Hacking the Rubik’s Box”, building your own Fitbit and getting creative with digital design.

Research shows that over half a million job openings in science, research, engineering and technology will need to be filled by 2023, to replace retiring workers but in engineering, for example, there is an estimated shortfall of people with the right skills of up to 60,000 a year.

SmartSTEMs events target children aged 10 to 14 and aim to encourage more people from diverse backgrounds to study STEM subjects at school.

Today’s session was one of more than 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: “EDF Energy hopes that by capturing their imaginations at events like this one more children will be inspired to study STEM subjects at school.

“Jobs in science, technology, engineering and maths are expected to grow at double the rate of other occupations but its projected that there won’t be enough graduates and apprentices to fill the roles. We are delighted to be working with SmartSTEMs and West College Scotland to try and change that.”

Iain Shand, Curriculum & Quality Leader from West College Scotland said: “The SmartSTEMs event was a great success with the pupils engaging in a number of exciting, hands on interactive workshops which has shown the pupils the range of STEM career possibilities, as well providing their teachers with stimulating new ideas on how to tackle the syllabus and facilitating many new connections to subject matter experts. It was great for the college to showcase their campus and work by having their students and staff run some of the workshops alongside industry members.”

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 young boys and girls. Proud to be playing our part in making Scotland a great place to discover and pursue STEM careers.”