Why Teach STEM In Further Education?
Published: 08 Feb 2016
There is currently huge demand within the Further Education sector for teachers of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM). It’s not difficult to see why. STEM disciplines affect virtually every part of our everyday lives (e.g. our economy revolves around mathematics and our efforts in renewable energy comes from the sciences) so STEM skills plays an increasingly important role in today’s modern society.
In the marketplace, vacancies in many STEM jobs are currently hard to fill due to a shortage of applicants, with most sources estimating that employers in the the sector will require over 150,000 scientists, technicians, engineers and mathematicians per year within the next 5 years.
The UK has a wealth of untapped potential in terms of ensuring these needs are met Therefore building a solid STEM foundation through the education of students, is of the most utmost importance for the UK and indeed other countries worldwide.
How do I become a STEM teacher?
If you are interested in becoming a teacher and you have studied in chemistry biology, physics, engineering, or any other STEM subject – you could be harnessing your specialist knowledge to teach the leaders of tomorrow.
View our article here to find out more about getting in 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?"
"Students who have done maths for 11 years at school, never got it, really fearful, they go very slowly and steadily, get the first bit, they get the second bit and after 3 months you don't hear "I can't do maths" any more."
Further Education providers are uniquely placed to train the next generation of STEM professionals. Becoming a lecturer or trainer within a college will provide you with the chance to prepare young people and adults for work in a dynamic, innovative sector by sharing your expertise, passion and experience. Learners often flourish outside a school environment, bringing with them more focus, motivation and maturity, as well as a chance to overcome any anxieties, by learning new practical skills and extending their knowledge where teachers understand and are able to meet their needs.
Further Education colleges provide specialist learning environments, often with state-of-the art resources and technology. Teachers in Further Education have real opportunities to shape the curriculum to meet the employment needs of the future at both a local and national level. Many colleges also offer Higher Education level courses in STEM subjects, where there is a similarly high demand for teachers.
As a teacher of STEM in FE, you will find yourself working in a stimulating environment, enjoying the benefits of being part of a team. You will normally be allocated a mentor at the start of your teaching career, who will also be a subject specialist, with a background and/or qualifications in your subject specialism.
Industry links and updating
Close links with employers are a key feature of many courses and many include 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 the use of technology to create exciting teaching and learning resources.
Becoming a "Dual professional"
Many teachers in Further Education consider themselves to be professionals in two fields: as both a teacher and a subject specialist. Adding knowledge and skills in teaching to your existing STEM knowledge and skills is immensely satisfying and rewarding, offering you the opportunity to pass on your technical expertise to learners with genuine employment prospects in dynamic industries.