A “FAILURE” to focus on STEM education will leave the country facing a skills shortage crisis in the coming years, experts warn.
OPITO, a global nonprofit body for skills and standards for the energy industry, said not enough is being done to engage teachers and parents, warning that without greater emphasis on STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and math – Scotland will have a hard time “achieving its goal for a renewable, net zero economy”.
Andy Williamson, senior vice president of OPITO, warned yesterday that protecting the future and recruiting the next generation workforce will be the biggest challenge ever faced by the energy sector.
As attention continues to focus on integrating STEM into schools and young people who appreciate its importance and opportunities, more needs to be done to provide parents and teachers with the confidence to teach STEM, support learning at home STEM and provide a positive influence for future careers within this space.
He said: “The energy mix in Scotland requires a wide range of new and existing skills and, while the North Sea Transition Deal and ScotWind are both ongoing and offer valuable and sustainable opportunities for the industry, we need to look forward through the eyes of the companies. younger generations and asking what can we do now to ensure there is a pool of skilled and passionate people eager to enter the industry and make their mark on the energy transition.
“The time devoted to STEM is insufficient in the academic year. We need consistent and regular points of contact at school and there must be learning opportunities not only for young people but also for the involvement of parents, teachers and guardians.
“Science centers across Scotland are helping to bridge the STEM skills gap and we are particularly proud of our work with the Glasgow Science Center. We currently have three campaigns running with the Glasgow team and they aim to engage not only young people in STEM but also to engage families in a fun and interactive way. Without the support of the family, it will be difficult to involve young people in the world of STEM ”.
OPITO is currently supporting the Glasgow Science Center with three projects; My Future Energy, Powering the Future, and supports a collaboration between Aberdeen Science Center and Glasgow Science Center for curriculum approved materials called Learning Lab.
He added: “The goal of our campaigns with the Glasgow Science Center is to put measures in place to bridge the current skills gap and ensure that young people are enthusiastic about STEM careers, understand the opportunities offered by the industry and provide clear pathways to A career in STEM. On top of that, our growing global network of ambassadors of young energy influencers is conveying a message that the integrated energy space is a fantastic place to be and is not necessarily the traditional career that people think it is. is.
“Digital solutions and smart technology are really starting to influence how our future energy ecosystem will function and behave and this is exciting for young people.”
“Furthermore, and above all, these campaigns aim to make STEM subjects accessible to teachers. We don’t expect teachers to walk into a science class with all the answers, but what we need are teachers who know how to facilitate discussions of ideation, hypothesis, and analysis of results. At the heart of the STEM principles is curiosity and in many ways this is the magic ingredient: not providing them with answers. We must remember that many jobs of the future do not even exist now ”.
OPITO has an online resource center, aimed at young people between the ages of 14 and 18, called “My Energy Future”, supported by the Glasgow Science Center’s “My Future Energy” programs. The online hub explores a range of topics including environmental issues, technology, opportunities, and the energy mix of the moment and the future. Resources are promoted by a range of voluntary energy influencers from a cross-section of sectors including hydrogen, renewable energy, and oil and gas.
OPITO has also partnered with the Glasgow Science Center to develop the ‘Powering the Future’ mobile exhibit, aimed at young children and facilitating workshops and school visits to focus on STEM. Finally, OPITO is further redoubling its efforts to positively influence the next generation workforce through its collaboration with Glasgow and Aberdeen science centers on “Learning Lab”, an online STEM learning program for the classroom that provides teachers with training. CPD accredited and Excellence Approved Materials curriculum for use in schools across Scotland.
Mr. Williamson said: “Our partnerships with Glasgow Science Center and others in Scotland are integral to the accessibility of careers and STEM opportunities within the country. It is up to us to galvanize – not only young people – but parents as well. , mentors and teachers to see the benefits of STEM careers and actively encourage them as a valuable and rewarding profession ”.
The Glasgow Science Center celebrates its 21st year of being at the forefront of STEM science and education. As a charity, it aims to ensure that all demographic groups in Scotland have access to science education.