Tag Archives: schools

Full STEAMM Ahead

Grand Challenges - University of Exeter - June 2016
Grand Challenges – Tackling 21st Century Interdisciplinary Dilemmas Together at the University of Exeter – June 2016

Recently we have been discussing the complex and volatile world in which we live and work, and the increasing need for more interdisciplinary teams.

Locally, Innovation Exeter is focused on cultivating a City-region which is a world-leader in environmental data analytics.  This is an interdisciplinary area and results will be achieved by exploiting the presence of the Met Office, the University of Exeter, the Science Park, the Maths School and other critical assets. STEM∗ STEMM° STEAMM℘ are top topics. Naomi Climer, the president of the Institute of Engineers, values the mix of creative and technical skills in individuals. However, the skills and personal qualities which underpin and enable interdisciplinary working in these highly technical areas are vital across all sectors and at all levels. If we are to tackle the productivity challenge and be more fulfilled individuals we need to unleash confidence, communicate effectively, collaborate meaningfully and re-discover curiosity.

Our meeting of Employers, Training Providers, Facilitators and Funders on Friday 25 November explored the theme Full STEAMM Ahead! Interdisciplinary STEAMM teams with strong collaborative abilities are the way ahead. We enjoyed presentations from and discussions with:

Kerry Burnham Exeter Maths School Creative and interdisciplinary project work with the University, Exeter College and employers – the benefits of being stuck!
Louise Cole & Kevin Feaviour Imagine If – Assets for Success Soft skills in schools, colleges, universities communities and the modern workplace


Rosie Bates Education Business Partnership STEAMM & the EBP – STEM Ambassadors, Big Bang etc


Anka Djordjevic Grand Challenges – University of Exeter Grand Challenges interdisciplinary enquiry –led learning with leading academics and external specialists


Jo McCreedie Careers & Employability – University of Exeter Internships & employability experiences

(Presentation to be added when technical glitches solved!)

Our main discussion points identified our need to:

  • Transcend silo mentality and cross boundaries
  • Ensure students experience breadth and develop interdisciplinary skills as study subject areas become more specific
  • Think beyond the immediate demand for STEM and not to fixate on ‘the now’
  • Focus on ‘Character, values and virtues’

We will need an interdisciplinary, creative, collaborative, innovative group to make this happen.

This was an interesting and informative start to what should be a Grand Challenge for Exeter and beyond.

Thanks to the Met Office who generously hosted this meeting.

∗STEM – Science Technology Engineering Maths
° STEMM – Science Technology Engineering Maths Medicine
℘ STEAMM – Science Technology Engineering Arts Maths Medicine

World-class Work Experience

Example Silver Level Industrial Cadets
Example Silver Level Industrial Cadet Certificate

Work Experience enables young people to sample careers, get a real sense of a particular work sector, to demonstrate their interest and passion for the area and to get a general introduction to the world of work. We know that young people who have Work Experience are more likely to be successful in their job search, but often the quality of the Work Experience depends upon factors other than interest and motivation. Sometimes Work Experience Placements are the result of parental contacts, second preferences and the ‘luck of the draw’. Employers who host Work Experience placements vary too. Some employers see the advantage of show-casing their sector or their organisation, of talent-spotting and of Corporate Social Partnership, whilst others squeeze-in something less than the best or do not participate at all. Where Work Experience works it makes a huge difference to the young person and benefits the business too.

Our World-class Work Experience Placement pilot will, we hope, become a flagship of our work. We aim to provide un-paralleled opportunities for quality controlled, accredited, Work Experience in Exeter and the Heart of Devon. For this initiative we are teaming up with Industrial Cadets and Education Business Partnership SW. Through this pilot our employer members will provide challenging and motivating accredited one week World Class Work Experience Placements at Silver Level (30 hours) for a group of pilot schools.

At this stage our employers are each meeting with Industrial Cadets and Education Business Partnership SW to plan and accredit each Work Experience opportunity and to ensure that the necessary insurances and paperwork are in place. Once the placements are agreed they will be offered to young people in our pilot schools for young people to start the application process. Although Industrial Cadets has its roots in STEM industries we are piloting it across our complete range of employer members.

The Industrial Cadets Silver Award accreditation offers clear advantages to the young people and to their hosts as all join the Industrial Cadets Online Network with advice and tools for during and after the placement, including advertising work opportunities. Each young person who successfully completes their Work Experience receives, among other things, a certificate which details their experiences and achievements.

Our employers are enthusiastic about holding a joint graduation ceremony of all our World-class Work Experience Industrial Cadets silver award graduates in June 2016.

Once the pilot is completed we will be in a position to consider growing the scheme in more ways than one!