Response 828775618

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John

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Organisation
North East Scotland College

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Questions

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

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No
Do you agree with the definition provided of STEM for the purposes of this Strategy?
Definition is clear with the exception of the technologies section. The list of areas covered is presumably not exhaustive e.g. what about biomedical or microbiological applications? The use of “applied technologies” in the list is unhelpful given that technologies are previously described as application of knowledge and skills in a range of fields.

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

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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?
Agreed, aims and themes are appropriate.

3. Are these success criteria right?

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Ticked Yes
No
If not, tell us what criteria we should use instead.
Use of “understand” in bullet point 2 is hard to measure and could be qualified by the addition of “have equal opportunity to” as follows: “all young people and their families, irrespective of background and circumstance, have equal opportunity to understand the importance and relevance of STEM…”

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?
Scope seems to lack specific reference to secondary education and so leaves a gap where the early years work needs to be maintained. Importance of continuity in exposure to STEM activity/experience is important

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.
Actions seem to be coherent and fit with the strategy

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.
Current activity: • More could be done to enhance family appreciation of STEM. This is important to promote STEM but also to help tackle the gender imbalance and break down stereotypes. • Need to ensure that employers and SQA work closely together with schools and colleges to ensure qualifications are fit for purpose, well designed, practicable, deliverable and meet the industry need. • SFC funding models need to be sufficiently flexible to allow Colleges to deliver programmes such as MAs and other industry-derived training programmes • There needs to be further commitment to STEM education in primary schools • Guidance services in schools need to be improved so that the full range of alternative routes to employment are properly presented to senior phase pupils and their parents e.g. MAs, “2 + 2” programmes

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

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Ticked Yes
No
Do you agree with the principles set out for implementation?
Agreed

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?
There is a greater need for partners to work more closely together – industry, qualifications awarding bodies, qualification providers and funding bodies – to ensure that skills and training are fit for purpose. Simplifying funding processes would also be most beneficial

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?
Agreed

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.
More information is needed on equity – do we make assumptions about why people choose certain subject/career choices? Colleges will not be able to address gender imbalance and other inequities alone – work with parents, early years and secondary education will be critical to success of this initiative. Perhaps including Colleges to improve access to higher education for those from disadvantaged backgrounds would be helpful. Existing FE/HE partnerships in the form of 2+2 arrangements for degree qualifications are successful in the North East and perhaps more accessible for these groups.

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?
Ensuring all groups work together on common aims is important – this will help avoid duplication of effort and ensure that collective effort produces common benefit. Young people will then be more likely to get a cohesive message on STEM careers.

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
No comment

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?
No comment

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.
Clearer definitions of what is expected from work placement providers would perhaps be beneficial as the quality of experience is quite variable at this time.

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?
Perhaps more explicit links to FE could be made in the partnerships section. Access to vocational training facilities and inclusion of Skills for Work and Foundation Apprenticeships in curriculum planning could be facilitated by collaboration.

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?
This seems to be an excellent idea which supports the remainder of the strategy. Representatives from each of the identified sectors would need to be engaged in developing an effective model

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?
Good idea which would help support the strategy. Need to identify some potential ambassadors and develop a plan to ensure their input is effective in reaching the most appropriate audience in the widest geographic context. Use of digital technologies may be valuable in extending the potential scope and impact of these individuals

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?
No suggestions

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.
North East Scotland College is engaged in a number of significant ways which support the government STEM strategy and priorities. We deliver a significant proportion of our activity (approximately 33% in 2015-16) in STEM related education and training and we are vital central partner in the delivery of the Developing the Young Workforce Programme. We work with Local Authorities and Higher Education partners to provide a range of pathways to employment with flexible entry and exit points, delivering qualifications in STEM level subjects ranging from Skills for Work (SCQF level 4) through to HND (SCQF level 8). The College works with local industry and the Chamber of Commerce in providing a range of Foundation Apprenticeships, Modern Apprenticeships and other training programmes in STEM subjects which meet the needs of local employers. College programmes are accessible and equal opportunities are actively promoted to try to address equity imbalance.

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?
No suggestions