Careers Advice

How and Why You Should Become a STEM Ambassador

As a STEM ambassador, you can share your experience and help inspire young people to choose a STEM career.


Science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects and careers are often overlooked by prospective students and apprentices, and we can all do something to change that. In many cases, people just lack the encouragement to pursue a STEM degree and all it takes is someone to give them information, set an example or simply let them know that their hopes and dreams are not as unattainable as they may think. To spread this message, we need ambassadors, and lots of them! It has never been easier to get involved and we have written this article to show you why and how.   

Why become a STEM ambassador?

As a STEM ambassador, you can share your experience and help inspire young people to choose a STEM career. Your work can help meet the needs of the understaffed industry. According to a Royal Academy of Engineering forecast [1], the UK economy will require 100,000 professional scientists, engineers and technologists per year between 2010 and 2020. With 90,000 STEM graduates per year, many of which are international and unable to obtain visas to work in the UK after graduation, the demand is clearly higher than the supply and STEM graduates are needed more than ever. Statistics also show that, for example, at least 26% of engineering students end up choosing a non-STEM occupation. Overall, an increase of at least 50% in STEM graduates is required to meet the need of the industry. 

By being a STEM ambassador you can also help encourage women to choose a STEM career. In 2016, of all those in a STEM occupation, only 21% were women.[2] The crucial work of ambassadors can promote all the opportunities available to women and enable those of school-leaving age to make more informed decisions about which career path they may want to take. Many STEM-related organisations have voluntary ambassadors who engage with young people and promote opportunities that they may have never known existed.

Finally, becoming a STEM ambassador helps you, too! Being an ambassador can help you develop your communication skills and confidence, as well as increase your employability. It can help you meet like-minded people and gain a fresh perspective through engaging with the younger generation. It is work that matters and can give you a real sense of achievement.

Who can become a STEM ambassador?

Anyone can become a STEM ambassador! Regardless of your background or job, you can always volunteer to be an ambassador. According to STEM organisations [3], ambassadors include apprentices, zoologists, set designers, climate change scientists, engineers of all disciplines, farmers, designers, geologists, nuclear physicists, architects, physicists, ice core chemistry technicians, pharmacists and energy analysts and many others!

How can you become a STEM ambassador?

The STEM Ambassador network is UK-wide and consists of over 30,000 ambassadors. It could not be easier to get involved and the work is incredibly rewarding. A short online application and an induction is all that stands between you and the opportunity to enthuse the next generation of successful STEM students and professionals. As a STEM ambassador, you can positively impact the future of young people through participating in a vast range of exciting events and projects such as careers fairs, talks and conferences. As it is a voluntary position, you also have the benefit of putting in as much or as little time as your schedule allows.

A fantastic opportunity to network and further advance your own prospects, the rewarding nature of being an ambassador will leave you wanting to do more. More information can be found at https://www.stem.org.uk/stem-ambassadors/ambassadors

 

[1] http://www.raeng.org.uk/publications/reports/jobs-and-growth

[2] https://www.wisecampaign.org.uk/resources/2016/11/women-in-the-stem-workforce-2016

[3] https://www.stem.org.uk/stem-ambassadors/ambassadors

Author

Ryan Durnall

RAF aircraft technician trainee. Junior Ranks Pilot Scholarship winner 2016. STEM Ambassador.

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