Why Teach STEM In Further Education?
There is currently a significant demand within the Further Education sector for teachers of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM). STEM disciplines affect virtually every part of our lives. As an example, our economy revolves around mathematics and our efforts in renewable energy comes from the sciences. STEM skills play an increasingly important role in today’s society. Vacancies in STEM fields are generally hard to fill due to an ongoing shortage of applicants.
According to the Inquiry on Equity in STEM Education report published by APPG ‘There should be more action to address teacher shortages in STEM subjects and more support for teachers to access to specialist skills and knowledge linked to improving equity.’
The IET's report states that there is an estimated shortfall of over 173,000 workers in the STEM sector, with an average of 10 unfilled roles per business in the UK. The IET’s Skills Survey highlights that nearly half of engineering businesses are experiencing recruitment challenges.
Over 150 world-leading engineers, scientists and technology experts, have called on the UK government to tackle the STEM skills gap which is costing the economy £1.5bn per year.
Building a solid STEM foundation through the education of students, is of utmost importance for the UK and indeed other countries worldwide.
How do I become a STEM teacher?
STEM teaching can be a deeply fulfilling and valuable career option. It is challenging, diverse and fun. It can give you the opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of the young people you work with. If you are interested in becoming a teacher and you have studied Chemistry Biology, Physics, Engineering, or any other STEM subjects, you could be harnessing your specialist knowledge to teach the leaders of tomorrow. View our article here to find out more about getting into teaching.
What is different about the Further Education Sector?
Recent comments from some existing teachers in STEM subjects include,
"No two days are the same"
"One of my learners asked me, How come no one has taught me the way you do?"
Further Education colleges provide specialist learning environments, often with state-of-the-art resources and technology. Teachers in Further Education can shape the curriculum to meet the employment needs of the future at both a local and national level.
Further Education providers are uniquely placed to train the next generation of STEM professionals. Becoming a lecturer within a college could provide you with the chance to prepare young people to work in a dynamic and innovative sector. You could share your expertise, passion and experience, and inspire the next generation. Many learners flourish outside a school environment. They bring with them focus, motivation and maturity, as well as a chance to overcome their anxieties. They can learn new practical skills, extend their knowledge and be able to meet their needs.
As a teacher of STEM in Further Education, you could find yourself working in a stimulating environment and enjoy the benefits of being part of a team. You would normally be allocated a mentor at the start of your teaching career. Mentors are often subject specialists with a background and qualifications in the subject.
Industry links and updating
Close links with employers are a key feature of many courses and many include industry placements and visits to local hi-tech industries. You should also be offered opportunities for industrial updating as part of your professional development, which will also include training in using technology to create exciting teaching and learning resources.
Becoming a "Dual professional"
Teachers in Further Education often consider themselves to be professionals in two fields: both a teacher and a subject specialist. Developing your knowledge and skills in teaching can be immensely satisfying and rewarding. You can pass on your technical expertise to learners and develop their employment prospects. You could inspire, influence and empower the next generation.