What is STEM anyway? It’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. Who cares about it? Well, actually, everyone should. These are the skills that will be most relevant in the technology-driven future that lies ahead. The skills that will give children an edge when they look to finding jobs – many of which don’t even exist yet – and building sustainable futures.
The World Economic Forum released a report towards the end of 2016 entitled ‘The Future of Jobs and Skills’. In this report, they pointed out that some of the most in-demand jobs today didn’t exist five to 10 years ago. In another report written by Scott McLeod and Karl Fisch, they made one staggering claim (backed up by plenty of research, of course): “65% of children entering primary school today will ultimately end up working in completely new job types that don’t yet exist’.
At this point you’re probably asking what all this has to do with STEM. Well, everything, actually. It’s STEM skills that are the most relevant to the jobs of the future. It will be the talented people in these fields who can pick up careers anywhere in the world, who can adapt to the fluidity of the evolving jobs market and who can take their talents from one field to the next. It will be the children who have STEM that can carve out new job titles and niches and who will be most likely to take home the big salary cheques and have sustainable careers. The United States Department of Labour’s Bureau of Labour Statistics research found that STEM fields have the highest potential for job growth and that those in these fields will make higher wages.
The statistics are behind STEM, now we just need to put the children behind it.
The problem is that most children aren’t taught to see STEM as exciting. The scientist or data analyst or engineer hasn’t traditionally been given the Hollywood makeover that doctors, fashion designers, lawyers and athletes have had. These careers aren’t seen as glamorous or appealing and this needs to change. We need to inspire the children of today to see STEM as their route to success tomorrow.
One of the challenges that surrounds STEM is that many parents aren’t aware of what it represents or what pathways it opens up for their children. Fortunately, just one Google search around STEM will throw up a virtual smorgasbord of ideas, careers, educational opportunities and insights. It will also highlight one hugely important point – there is no time like the present to make STEM a part of your child’s life.
Make 2018 the year of STEM for your kids. Show them how these fields are exciting, interesting and dynamic. Give them the chance to explore worlds that open up under a microscope, to create machines using basic engineering skills, and use maths to understand the complexities of technology. For younger children, these skills can be taught through edutainment tools that allow them to absorb STEM constructs without realising that they are doing so. As they grow older, they can then take these concepts and apply them within the educational setting, and they can continue to grow in their applications and inventiveness in an entertainment setting.
Article reposted with permission from Young Engineers