Firstly, I will point out that I am new to being a STEM Ambassador. I took the plunge a couple of months back and went through the process as outlined on their website.
STEM offers great support and guidance, including training materials that take you through the application process. They even handle the DBS for you.
My motivation was really as an extension of the Careers in Eyecare work that ABDO has engaged with. Becoming an Ambassador seemed like a good way to extend that on a personal level.
7th July 2021 saw me carry out my first STEM activities in a school in Warwickshire. They had set up a two-day event with various employers and sectors represented.
For me, this involved one day of lessons delivering the Careers in Eyecare lesson plan five times during the day to groups of Year-10 pupils. The group sizes were all around the 24-25 level.
The beauty of this lesson is that everything is there already for you, and you do not need to take along boxes of equipment. It is a career focussed session and utilises the information on the Careers in Eyecare website. Look at the lesson here. There is a downloadable version at the bottom of that web page too.
Do not be concerned about the Gatsby and CDI benchmarks, they are in there so that the school can record what has been achieved within the frameworks applied to careers in schools.
It is fair to say that many 15-year-olds have no idea what they want to do post GCSE, and that is OK. Part of the role of a STEM Ambassador is to help them understand the real-world applications of their theoretical learning.
Showcasing careers in our sector and unveiling different roles and pathways into eyecare and eyewear opens the students’ eyes to the many opportunities in the sector, raising awareness of important skills in the workplace.
You really help in terms of raising aspirations. Students get to meet a wide range of inspiring role models, encouraging them to think about their future.
Schools and colleges can book a STEM Ambassador to come into the school, either face-to-face or virtually, free of charge. In my case, the request came through a teacher at the school rather than through the STEM opportunities web pages.
Breadth of experiences is what is of interest to the students. Help schools and colleges by making sure they have a wide variety of employer volunteers to call on from a wide range of different sectors.
It is also a great method of personal development and may stretch you in ways that help in your main career. And do not forget that you will have great networking opportunities too in your local community.