In partnership with the Society of Biology, Royal Society of Chemistry, and Institute of Physics

Transferring the model

The resources provided here exemplify different approaches which you might like to take when developing your own lessons.

Several teachers adapted the STEM Careers resources (from the STEM Subject Choice and Careers project) and developed their own - see Lessons Learned Part 1 and 2 - particularly case studies one, seven and ten.

When planning to integrate practical work with careers information, initially you need to consider whether the practical you intend to use is 'authentic’. So, does it relate well to a current careers context?

Some practical activities commonly used in science teaching are about recreating historical methods not used today, while others have a clear link to contemporary science. Whatever the status of the practical work, the methods used in carrying out the practical can be utilised in other ways to highlight general employability skills which could be useful in many careers. Practical work is therefore useful to help pupils reflect on their own broader careers education.

To include the elements of broader careers education find out more about skills and careers by looking at National STEM Centre - STEM Careers and Personal Capabilities, or download the STEMNET employability framework.

Remember that practical work can illustrate both careers in science and other careers more loosely connected with science (e.g. plumber, fire fighter, pilot). FutureMorph and other similar websites show how wide ranging these career areas are.

Planning to integrate practical work and careers information

There are some key aspects to consider when including careers information in practical lessons. Which you use will depend on your starting point:

a) Include images of STEM careers within teaching and signpost students to recognised and up to date resources.

On the face of it drawing on images can seem simple and many teachers will claim to do this as a matter of course. But we know that pupils can hold very stereotyped perspectives of science careers and fixed views of what sort of people do science, so it is important that images used in teaching can challenge these gender / ethnicity / social background stereotypes. FutureMorph and MathsCareers websites are good starting points and for more ideas on this see the STEM equality and diversity toolkit (search for Inclusive Role Models in the Case Studies section). You can find a host of careers video clips at iCould and do not forget your Subject Association.

b) Make direct references to careers in your teaching and begin to work in partnership with other teachers and with allied subjects.

Direct references to careers should be widely based and acknowledge different levels and types of qualification needed. Both vocational and academic routes need to be shown to pupils. We know teachers often find it hard to build partnerships with other subject groups but if the difficulties can be tackled it is worthwhile. The STEM Careers Timeline project explored ways that STEM subjects can work together (see Lengthening Ladders, Shortening Snakes report). A first step might be in Science and Engineering week. We know that once science teachers have shared ideas about enhancing careers awareness in their own subject group, the logical next step is to continue the good practice with other science subjects and other STEM subjects.

c) Make links to other curriculum support for careers education - via industry visits, work experience, and working with a careers delivery team.

The easiest way of including people from industry is via your STEMNET local broker. See STEMNET to find out about who to contact and how to get an Ambassador to visit. They also provide information about competitions, clubs and different award schemes like CREST run by the British Science Association. The network of regional Science Learning Centres runs a series of study visits for science teachers which not only help subject teaching but also enhance careers awareness. If your school has a STEM or Enterprise Coordinator you may have access to other local employer contacts. If your school offers work experience or takes part in placement schemes it can offer a very personal careers insight to individual pupils if managed well (see Futuremorph; teacher section on placements)

d) Develop a whole department strategy.

Once you have got together with other teachers and built up some momentum and support then you can start to build a programme into schemes of work. See STEM Subject Choice and Careers: Lessons Learned part 1 (case study one) and part 2 (case study seven) showing how different schools have managed the process. There is a ‘STEM Manager’, which is an online tool available from the National STEM Centre (you will need to join for access to this) to support schools in overall planning for STEM Careers.

Each of these elements has a thread of equality and diversity running through them. Without tackling the barriers that face under-represented groups in STEM careers we will fail in the aim to increase participation in STEM subjects and careers. Further information can be found in the Equality and Diversity Section of STEM Careers at the National STEM Centre.

Useful links


Page last updated on 02 May 2013