Getting prepared and inspired for the world outside of the comfortable bubble of education is undoubtedly daunting for students, particularly in a world where options seem endless and overwhelming. Gone are the days of William sweeping chimneys because that’s what papa did; the global world is now our oyster. But as a result, there’s a hefty amount of options to sieve through. It’s a double-edged sword which in turn adds a lot to careers teachers’ plates.
Ensuring students are armed with a firm understanding and knowledge of how their studies interact with the world of work, alongside the opportunities and possibilities that come with it, has never been more paramount in order to help students be able to make the dream choice for them. And it’s becoming clearer and clearer that this is even more of a focus for our science, technology, engineering and maths industries. Whilst the world we live in demands more people in these roles, it is becoming abundantly evident that the workforce just isn’t maintaining this fast pace, where the UK “is currently facing a 40,000 shortfall in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics graduates across the country and costing the UK economy an estimated £63 billion a year in lost additional GDP.” Thus, it’s alarmingly necessary we start getting our future generations excited and inspired by STEM and the careers it can lead to.
Alongside the expansion of our tech industries and the ever-growing need to fill skilled jobs in this economy, resources to assist us in this career guidance have also handily grown parallel to this. Hoo-rah! As teachers, you are not on your own and the world wide web is undoubtedly on your side – a shoulder that you can most certainly lean on, enabling you to efficiently provide students with great careers guidance resources to help them do all that sieving and self-discovery.
So we’ve done our own bit of sieving. Surfing the web, we’ve picked our favourite resources to inspire your students so you don’t have to waste time doing the search. And we don’t even expect anything back from this kind gesture – apart from eternal love, of course.
Our top 8 online STEM resources to help you inspire your students
- STEM Learning Careers Toolkit
- Career in STEM: STEM Careers List
- icould Career Stories
- The Association for Science Education
- BBC STEM Resources
- CK-12 Foundation
STEM.org.uk has a wealth of invaluable information for careers teachers and schools. We’re particularly big fans of its careers toolkit. Once you have signed up for an account (which literally takes less than a few minutes) you can gain access to your future bible. The toolkit includes a guide on government policy on careers education, ways to make subjects tangible to the world of work, labour market information, and much more. If you haven’t already got this in your life, then you need to. This toolkit is to a careers teacher what a map was to Christoper Columbus.
This is a handy list for your students to explore, covering a range of STEM careers that may or may not float their boat. It’s pretty extensive, covering animal scientists, biomedical engineers, aerospace engineer, obstetrician, dietician, robotics technician, drone pilots and oh so much more.
And even though a list may not seem exciting, it really is. Each career profile can be explored, in an interactive and fun way, ranging from career information sheets to videos on exactly what it’s like to do that job. There’s even a “try-it” section – if a student explores the robotics technician page, for instance, they can make their own robot game.
We reached out to the founder and CEO of Career in STEM, Ashley Pereira, to get her spin on why she thinks her resource is a really useful one for students to explore careers.
“As a high school science teacher, I realised that my students had such a limited view of what careers existed out there in the real world. So many of them said they wanted to be a doctor, vet, lawyer, etc. Not because they really liked the fields, but because they were the only careers they had ever heard about! My goal in creating the hundreds of free resources on my site is to get kids to think outside the ‘common career box’ and provide engaging resources to help them learn more. Because how would you know that you wanted to be a biofuels processing technician if you had never heard of it?”
The rise of YouTube hasn’t just meant that we can spend hours scrolling through cute videos of dogs hugging cats, but it’s also a key resource in education. icould Career Stories has utilised the platform, providing access to real-life stories from real-life people, giving personal stories and advice on careers. It has a lot of heart – and even though statistics and facts are important, showcasing the human part of careers is just as vital. They’ve even done a series specialising in STEM.
As we have explored in other blog posts, STEM careers are diverse and pretty cool. But too often, too early students are socialised into a certain idea of science, not realising how it is infused into all aspects of our life. Well, this where the ASE come in. Noticing this problem, they have curated a set of content for teachers to utilise to integrate careers-based information with science lessons to give STEM learning a real-life stamp.
A collection of teachers have created a set of case studies, ranging from climate change to volcanoes, with accompanying lesson plans and presentations that can all be downloaded. This is a great resource to inspire your students about the future within relevant topics in the subject.
Creating fun and relevant career-based learning is essential to the success and impact it will have on the student. If it’s dull, it will feel arduous and before the student has even had a chance to properly ignite the fire in their belly for the exciting future they have ahead of them, you’ll be putting it out.
BBC has a great selection of resources online for teachers, including some useful videos in demonstrating how STEM can be used in the real world. For instance, there is a selection of short films that unveil how computational thinking can solve real-world problems, alongside another that showcases how Maths can is integral to surviving in the big wide world. They also have themed videos on relating STEM to Doctor Who.
These videos are the perfect bunch to show to your students just how relevant STEM is to their future careers and the world around them.
This platform is for the benefit of all: students, parents and teachers. It has tools to learn or teach all things STEM, following a play, learn, interact and explore structure.
Covering subjects all the way from Arithmetic to Life Science, CK-12 is a great free platform that aids students in their study of STEM. But our favourite part is its “real world” feature. In all of the subjects it covers, and the topics beneath the broader umbrella, CK-12 also demonstrates how these topics can be seen in the real world It’s another great tool in connecting the bridge from the four walls of the classroom and the life outside of it.
Bursting with astounding images and videos, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration is a site to behold for anyone with a smidgen of STEM interest.
Putting its stunning gallery to one side, it is also packed with a great number of resources that are bound to get your students inspired. Its contents include downloaded ebooks; information on upcoming STEM events; STEM apps and podcasts; blog posts; free STEM posters; and more.
Sharing this site and utilising it in lessons is a great way to engage your students with a variety of learning styles and is bound to get them inspired with STEM through NASA’s infamous legacy.
Us! We don’t mean to blow our own trumpet, but we think our platform is pretty good in encouraging your students to get excited about achieving their dream destination.
Alongside being full to the brim with information on the endless career paths and companies in the STEM world, students also get the chance to ask questions to real-life employees of companies to get an insight into their everyday life as well as view, search and apply for live opportunities for work experience, apprenticeships and jobs.
As well as being inspiring for kids with a catalogue of information and opportunity, it’s great for schools, supplying really important data for your student body and alumni.
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These are just some of our favourites that we’ve picked out, but there’s obviously a load more out there. If you’ve stumbled across a real gem of a STEM resource that we’ve missed, then let us know in the comments below.