Skip main navigation

The value of different forms of engagement

The value of different forms of engagement with employers in schools
JOHN HOLMAN: So there’s no one way of doing this in schools and colleges. And when I was in Germany, I saw excellent examples of alumnae of the school who are now apprentices, wearing their blue overalls on a Tuesday, coming in, talking about; this is what I do. This is what my workplace is like. And that’s very powerful because the students will identify and say, oh, there’s someone like me. And so, that’s just one example of the many ways that schools and colleges can bring the workplace into the school. And of course, you can go out and visit it. There’s plenty of opportunities to visit workplaces.
And if you can’t do that, there’s always videos, there are simulations, there’s all sorts of activities. The National STEM Learning Centre will show you what they are.
ANDREW CLARKE: There are some great examples that we’ve had in the past. We’ve worked, actually, with a particular chemical company here in West Yorkshire. And they invited young people into the company. And they actually had some ambassadors who took these young people around the company, showed them how various chemicals worked together, which was absolutely fantastic. We then have a company, based here in North Yorkshire, and they actually talk about springs. Now you might think, springs? That sounds really boring. But if you are running a maths class, for example, rather than asking for a mathematician, why don’t you ask for somebody who actually engineers springs?
And when I say springs, I’m talking about, from the smallest kind of spring that you’d see in a switch to a massive spring that you’d see maybe on a tractor. Because that person, that STEM ambassador who works in that organisation, can talk about the calculations needed to actually put these springs together. So sometimes I would say to teachers, rather than asking for mathematicians, ask for an engineer, so that they can actually come in and give you a real life example of how maths is applied in the real world.
HAYLEY: We found that a lot of employers actually want to work with schools, and are really willing to. So it’s just an email, and you will find that they tend to respond, and they’re quite happy to come in and talk about the jobs. So it might be career starts, it could be assemblies, things like that they’ve done, where they talk about the jobs that they want. But we found that a lot of employers, actually, just that first initial email, are more than willing to come in. I know that some of the extra competitions and things we’ve done, we’ve managed to find funding. They’re willing to sponsor us very easily, and they do want to do more.
So I think employers want to get into schools more, really, than we need them. So it’s sometimes a quite nice partnership to have. They’re very keen to get in touch with us.
Employer engagement can take a variety of different forms. In this video, you will hear from three different people talking about their experiences of employer engagement.
Professor Sir John Holman provides an example of how alumni from schools and college can provide insight into what happens after they’ve obtained their qualifications.
Andy works at the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford, a STEM Ambassador Hub. STEM Ambassadors are volunteers who work with schools, colleges and community groups, sharing with young people their experience and knowledge from a range of STEM careers.
From her experience as a Head of Science, Hayley suggests that employers are often keen to do more than talks and assemblies, sharing the way her contacts have been involved in competitions and longer term projects.


What forms of employer engagement are you currently familiar with and how are they being used to develop career learning in the curriculum?
This article is from the free online

Linking Curriculum Learning to STEM Careers

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education