Finmeccanica-Selex ES has produced a video for schools, which aims to plant a seed of inspiration that will encourage young people to consider careers in STEM.
The video features a day in the life of Senior Hardware Engineer Naomi Mitchison, who was recently announced as the IET’s Young Woman Engineer of the Year. Already distributed to schools across Scotland, the film follows Naomi from the moment she wakes up, showing the way in which the world around her is brought to life by her awareness of science and engineering.
In order to meet future demands for skills in this area there is currently a need to increase the number of female engineers from roughly six per cent in the UK to over double that figure. A key barrier to attracting young people and in particular girls to STEM careers is outmoded perceptions of the industry. Images of women in hard hats, in stark old fashioned environments are often seen in the media, yet many engineering companies offer clean, high-tech environments that are very much a reflection of the 21st century technology which they produce.
A recent study produced by the Department for Business and Skills suggests that STEM graduates have an enormously positive affect on industry. The report contrasted the characteristics of Highly Innovative Firms (HIFs), versus Less Innovative Firms (LIFs). It found that HIFs have a significantly higher share of employment accounted for by STEM graduates and, moreover, that this population has a very positive influence on a range of performance metrics. Conversely, the lack of science graduate employment in LIFs is particularly striking: the median number of STEM graduates employed by LIFs is zero. These findings underline the importance of STEM graduates and skills more generally to the economy.
The findings of the report highlight again that the value of investment in the research base comes primarily through the production of trained graduates and postgraduates who have the ability to solve complex technical problems. That creative problem solving ability is the very quality that Naomi feels should be more frequently associated with STEM careers. They can be highly innovative, allowing talented individuals to use their imaginative flair within industry in ways they might not have thought possible. It is hoped that the video will be the seed that sparks the growth of STEM careers in the future.