Response 381322684

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Questions

1. Do you agree with the definition provided of STEM for the purposes of this Strategy?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No

2. Do you think the aims of this Strategy and the four priority themes are the right ones to address the challenges identified?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No
Do you think the aims of this Strategy and the four priority themes are the right ones to address the challenges identified?
the gender imbalance issue is particularly acute in certain sectors of STEM (examples would be Computer Science; Mechanical Engineering - there are plenty of others). Over the past 2 decades large sums of money have been spent on trying to address the imbalance with only limited success. I believe that a whole new set of ways to address this is required. I speak from a knowledgeable perspective. I am a chartered Engineer of over 25 years standing in industry. Having seen the imbalance there and the acute shortages of Engineers, I now work at University and see the imbalance in the 'first part of the supply chain' . It is not all 'bad news', in some areas there have been improvements (to give examples here - Chemical Engineering; Civil Engineering; thought there is still a long way to go).

3. Are these success criteria right?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No
If not, tell us what criteria we should use instead.
Yes the success criteria are right, but see my comments on gender imbalance in the previous section.

4. Do you think the scope of the Strategy is right? Tell us if you think it should exclude something or include anything else. For example, should it include training and development that employers provide for their workforce?

Do you think the scope of the Strategy is right? Tell us if you think it should exclude something or include anything else. For example, should it include training and development that employers provide for their workforce?
Employers will always be providing training and development for employees. This is necessary as the pace of technical change and innovation is ever increasing and staff need to retrain on the latest technology.

5. Give us your views on whether you think the actions already underway across the sectors on STEM fit well with the Strategy and will contribute positively to it.

Give us your views on whether you think the actions already underway across the sectors on STEM fit well with the Strategy and will contribute positively to it.
Any actions are positive. It needs to be increased. There are world shortages of suitably STEM qualified people. We are more dependent upon technology now than ever before. Great opportunities for any economy which can increase the pool of suitable residents.

6. Tell us about activity currently ongoing – either included in this document or not – that you think could be adapted or stopped and why.

Tell us about activity currently ongoing – either included in this document or not – that you think could be adapted or stopped and why.
I work at Heriot-Watt University. We are working with younger age range of females (S2 for example) to try and change their perception of STEM before they make final decisions on careers and school subject choices at senior level. We also operate Summer Schools and Taster Sessions which primarily pupils target areas of low continuation on to FE and HE I previously worked at Sheffield Hallam University and built and co-ordinated a female access course to Engineering. When working in Industry I was also an ambassador for STEM and I now work with my professional body (IMechE) on STEM promotion. It needs ongoing and concerted efforts and funding from business, education, governments.

7. Do you agree with the principles set out for implementation?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No

8. What else should Government do to ensure a more coherent approach and maximise impact?

What else should Government do to ensure a more coherent approach and maximise impact?
publicity, publicity, publicity. The 'old' perception is of STEM careers as boring, low paid, male only. This needs to be changed.

9. Overall, do you think this Strategy is clear and action focused? Do you think that the actions that we propose to take nationally will achieve the aims and intended outcomes?

Overall, do you think this Strategy is clear and action focused? Do you think that the actions that we propose to take nationally will achieve the aims and intended outcomes?
Difficult to say. Only time will tell. The gender imbalance is going to be particularly hard to change significantly. Even a small change would be a success, in my opinion.

10. Will this Strategy improve equity of outcomes? If not, tell us what else it should include, in particular for women and girls and other groups of people – disabled people, care leavers and minority ethnic communities.

Please select one item
Yes
Ticked No
Will this Strategy improve equity of outcomes? If not, tell us what else it should include, in particular for women and girls and other groups of people – disabled people, care leavers and minority ethnic communities.
See my previous comments on gender imbalance.

11. What could schools, colleges, universities, community learning and development, the voluntary sector, science engagement providers and museums do to support the areas for action?

What could schools, colleges, universities, community learning and development, the voluntary sector, science engagement providers and museums do to support the areas for action?
I have mentioned some things previously. We need to bring STEM 'to life' AND link it in to the potential exciting and rewarding careers available.

12. What could professional organisations and bodies and third sector organisations do to support the areas for action? This includes, in particular, the General Teaching Council for Scotland, the CLD Standards Council, the teaching unions and representatives and the Learned Societies.

What could professional organisations and bodies and third sector organisations do to support the areas for action? This includes, in particular, the General Teaching Council for Scotland, the CLD Standards Council, the teaching unions and representatives and the Learned Societies
Not sure on the bodies you mention as I have not worked with them. They do need to have STEM 'ambassadors' in them. People with STEM backgrounds, who can speak with authority to people on the matter of STEM jobs and training. The other Professional Bodies (such as IMechE; IoPhysics; ICE; Royal Scoiety; etc) already do a power of work. Guess they could do more though - but it all comes down to resources at the end of the day.

13. What more could science centres and festivals do to complement and enhance STEM formal education, to inspire scientists of the future, and to ensure their activities support those of the Scottish Government and its agencies?

What more could science centres and festivals do to complement and enhance STEM formal education, to inspire scientists of the future, and to ensure their activities support those of the Scottish Government and its agencies?
Link their activities in to showing the exciting jobs available in STEM. this is already often done, but needs to be increased.

14. Should this Strategy identify more actions for particular sectors, for example in relation to workplace and work-based training and development? Please make suggestions on what these actions could be.

Should this Strategy identify more actions for particular sectors, for example in relation to workplace and work-based training and development? Please make suggestions on what these actions could be.
work-based training; sponsorship by industry; internships; such things would al help to bring STEM Education to life. This is particularly important if we wish to encourage more young people to take up study and then careers in STEM disciplines.

15. Tell us what you think about this Improvement Framework. How can we best ensure uptake of this Framework in early years learning settings, schools and clusters?

Tell us what you think about this Improvement Framework. How can we best ensure uptake of this Framework in early years learning settings, schools and clusters?
For early years in schools the teachers need lots of technical training and support. I have worked on the initiative 'Primary Engineer' and whilst I have enjoyed supporting that initiative, the teachers are in many cases 'lost' in the technology whenever the supporting Engineers are not available.

16. Tell us what you think of our proposal for developing a model of collaboration between schools, colleges, universities and employers. How should we now take this forward?

Tell us what you think of our proposal for developing a model of collaboration between schools, colleges, universities and employers. How should we now take this forward?
At the moment the Schools; Colleges; Universities; Employers; all have different 'reward mechanisms (e.g. schools league table; examination results; research ratings; profit). They need co-ordination and assistance to have the vision to work together to assist in the future supply of STEM able people. We all need to be working together on this one both for the benefit of young people and of our future society/economy.

17. Tell us what you think of our proposals for a Scottish STEM ambassador network. How should we now take that forward?

Tell us what you think of our proposals for a Scottish STEM ambassador network. How should we now take that forward?
Many networks already exist. We need more. Start by joining up the ones which exist and looking at their best practice. Then look into planning for expansion.

18. What other groups, organisations or people need to be involved in delivery of this strategy?

What other groups, organisations or people need to be involved in delivery of this strategy?
Everyone and anyone, really. From community centres to educators to governments to pensioners, and everyone in between. Everybody is 'touched' by STEM right now either directly or indirectly.

19. Tell us about what you are doing in your organisation, establishment or community that supports the aims and priorities of this Strategy.

Tell us about what you are doing in your organisation, establishment or community that supports the aims and priorities of this Strategy.
A lot is mentioned previously. I am answering as an individual but with lots of first hand knowledge. Working at a University with a larger number of STEM subjects offered I am at the 'front end of supply' in terms of training of STEM but I am also at the 'front end' of supply' in terms of seeing what students are applying to study.

20. What could employers do to attract and retain more diverse STEM talent?

What could employers do to attract and retain more diverse STEM talent?
Work collaboratively with schools, colleges, universities (many already do). Offer visits and hands-on activities. Sponsor students to College and University. Offer more Modern Apprenticeship places. It is directly to their benefit.