Science and Engineering Ambassadors

Purpose

The main purpose of Science and Engineering Ambassadors is to support teachers in delivering the curriculum and increase the number of people with qualifications in science, design and technology, ICT and mathematics. It is intended to:

  • enable young people to make links between what they learn at school and the world of work
  • give them an understanding of the types of careers that are open to them if they study science, design and technology, ICT and maths
  • motivate young people to develop their science, design, and technology, ICT and maths skills further

Ambassadors are being developed as a resource that will:

  • set quality standards to ensure all Science and Engineering Ambassadors successfully complete an approved induction
  • contribute to the Government’s overall target of enabling every child under 16 to have the opportunity to participate in an appropriate science, technology, engineering or maths-related activity at least once in each Key Stage (or equivalent) but it is not limited to that age group and
  • be available to every school in the UK that wants them.

The objectives are to:

  • improve educational achievement in science, technology, engineering and maths subjects by supporting both teachers and students in these subjects
  • encourage more young people to study science, technology, engineering and maths beyond age 16
  • encourage more young people to feel confident in pursuing a career involving science, technology, engineering, and maths
  • improve teachers’ and young people’s understanding of the role of science, technology, engineering and maths in the world.

Who can become Ambassadors and what they will do?

Science and Engineering Ambassadors are people with science, technology, engineering and maths skills employed in a variety of occupations at all levels. They may be employed as scientists or engineers or they may be using those skills in other environments. Ambassadors may be technicians and research assistants working at or below degree level, graduates, PhDs or leaders in their field.

The most important characteristic is that they be able to inform and enthuse teachers and students about studying science, technology, engineering or maths as well as the importance of these subjects in everyday life and as a potential career. As a group they must be willing and able to work with young people, including primary school children, and with teachers, schools and in other educational environments such as further education colleges and after school activities with the usual safeguards.

Ways in which they might work include:

  • supporting teachers with the delivery of the school curricula by, for example, supporting practical work in the classroom; arranging and/or accompanying visits to outside organizations, or by supporting teachers behind the scenes in lesson preparation and updating work
  • supporting or running out-of-school activities, such as clubs and awards and competitions
  • mentoring students and teachers
  • addressing school groups, including parents and governors, about relevant topics, their careers, how to get into certain fields, their experiences, etc.
  • supporting careers guidance and acting as role models
  • supporting the whole school more generally with their technical knowledge
  • helping provide work experience placements for teachers and students.

Benefits to employers of releasing staff as Ambassadors

  • Career development of staff
  • Better profile in the local community; being seen to contribute to the local community
  • Raising interest among future generations as potential employees in the sector
  • Raising awareness of the roles of science, technology, engineering and maths in society, and the diversity jobs these subjects can lead to

Benefits to Ambassadors

  • Career development
  • Participation expected to be accredited as Continuing Professional Development with the Professional Institutions
  • Experience of working with external partners
  • “Feel good factor” from seeing the students enjoying and benefiting from the experience, leading to increased motivation about their job
  • For those from academia, a better understanding of the education system through which new students have passed

Benefits to Pupils

  • Improving contacts for work experience
  • Improving understanding in the wider community of school life
  • Potential extra funding from local employers
  • Improved school-business links and school-university links

Existing Schemes

Upon approval of their induction course, existing schemes can become part of Science and Engineering Ambassadors which includes personal liability insurance cover for all Ambassadors, funded by the Department of Trade and Industry.

To find out more

Contact your local SETPOINT. Contact details can be found at www.setnet.org.uk. National organizations should ‘phone SETNET on 0800 641415.

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