On Tuesday November 6th, Stewart Gray went to a breakfast at the Dean Park Hotel in Kirkcaldy with over 100 individuals spread across business, education and governement. The main topic of conversation surrounded how we engage younger kids, prodominantly still in school, and get them interested in STEM subjects - Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. The question itself remains a good one, but the answers were from various points on the scale, this made it harder to decide what would be a good idea and what wouldn't...
Kicking off the event was a speech from Bob Garmony, the chairman of the DYW (Developing the Young Workforce) board. His opening note concerned not just the state of interest in STEM based businesses in Scotland but, more so what we, as Fife based STEM businesses, can do to provide opportunity for younger workers in our area.
The second Speaker, Srah Jardine, is the Senior Manufacturing Dirtector for Optos PLC in Dunfermline. They are industry leading specialists in retinal imaging, which is really smart kit! The issue that was raised by themselves was the aging work force. Though they are really good at what they do, they're reliance is on the older generation and seem to be missing a trick regarding succession of their current staff. This is an issue that needs addressed for many companies & was highlighted as a focus point for a few businesses.
The last case study speaker of the day was Zoe Thompson, a depute rector from Woodmill High School, Dunfermline. Her study surrounded the gender split in subject selection for highschools but also from high school onward, to college and Uni. One interesting statistic that was shared through the help of data from Equate Scotland looked at the gender split of STEM Subject selections between 1992 and 2018, this found that there was basically no change in over 25 years...
After the speakers had explained their points - and quite eye opening points at that! It was time to have some round table discussions about what we had heard. The table we were at had a selection of business owners/representatives, school teachers - including my old registration teacher, now a depute - and some member of the local council involved in the DYW scheme.
For anyone who keeps up to date with us, we have 2 Foundation Apprentices, Lukasz & Owen, who come to us and learn through the DYW scheme. For this reason it means alot to us to try and have an impact on their lives and hopefully their career choices too! Walking away from this event definitely left me thinking about several things, including how as a company we make ourselves accessible to people of all ages, especially ones who are still impressionable & interested!
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