It goes without saying that these are unprecedented times. With more of us having to adopt new ways of working, this means that some of us will also have to adapt to home teaching as well. All around the country, parents and teachers alike are getting to grips with the new set-up and the challenges that it may bring. And in doing so, many are wondering how to continue encouraging students to nurture their passion for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects remotely.
It is clear that unless we inspire young people to pursue STEM studies, Britain’s chronic skills shortages may get worse. According to EngineeringUK, the UK suffers from an annual shortfall of between 37,000 and 59,000 engineering graduates and technicians to fill core engineering roles across the UK economy. This is estimated to cost the economy around £1.5bn a year.
Raytheon UK is a leading STEM employer in the UK, so this is a topic that is close to our hearts. We support over 8,000 skilled and scientific jobs in the UK and are committed to investing in the next generation of UK scientists and engineers to help close this STEM skills gap.
We do this through initiatives such as our flagship Quadcopter Challenge, which gets 14-15yr olds to build their own flying devices. Since 2015 over 1500 students have taken part in the challenge, strengthening their wider STEM learning. It also gives them an insight into “hands-on” STEM skills as the physical act of building and creating muscle memory is essential to the learning experience, especially in an age where so many young people learn and play on digital devices.
A unique aspect of the Quadcopter Challenge is the mentoring that teams receive from our STEM ambassadors, who as well as offering advice on aerodynamics and technical tips, share with the pupils their reasons for getting into STEM and act as relatable, local role models, showing the huge potential of a career in STEM.
During the current COVID-19 crisis, we at Raytheon UK are dedicated to supporting the national efforts to help people and communities across the UK, using our expertise and capabilities across the business to do so. That is why we have enlisted the help of our STEM Ambassadors to create an activity booklet designed to get students thinking about science, technology, maths and engineering. Our activities are perfect for teaching young students new things while they’re away from the classroom.
Designed for all ages, the booklet features a collection of puzzles, stimulating maths problems and interviews with our fantastic STEM Ambassadors, giving an insight into how STEM skills are helping to shape the future.
Our recent collaboration with the Science Museum, and the aforementioned Quadcopter Challenge, are just a couple of ways that Raytheon have helped to inspire kids outside of the classroom. We hope our STEM booklet is a small help at this challenging time too.
Dr Alex Rose-Parfitt is Raytheon UK’s Engineering Director and Executive STEM Sponsor
Raytheon UK is the proud recipient of the 2019 Inspirational STEM Employer of the Year