Where’s The STEM In That?
When thinking about STEM jobs, certain sectors and organisations readily come to mind. You’ve probably already suggested to your students that they look at sectors such as construction, engineering, aerospace or pharmaceuticals. You’ll have guided them towards employers like the NHS, energy companies or transport providers.
But what about the less obvious places to look for STEM-type careers? The options for your students might be wider than you think. If you’re trying to help your students get ahead in the careers world with a leg up into the job market, then it pays to think creatively.
Some of those organisations are willing to train new employees (through apprenticeships, school leaver schemes or graduate programmes) and others will want to recruit staff who have trained elsewhere. Either way, it represents opportunities for your students – as long as you’re helping them to look in the right places.
STEM jobs in IT and Finance
Most organisations have at least some of the business functions that we think of as STEM. IT and finance spring to mind. Every organisation needs to monitor and record its finances. Whatever the size of the organisation, they need to know how they are performing financially and plan their future income and expenditure. Likewise, most organisations nowadays rely on IT (as we all do in our work and everyday lives). Organisations need to record, monitor and analyse data on increasingly complex IT systems, as well as communicating within and outside the business.
Depending on the organisation’s size, IT or finance might be a whole department or just a few people, but someone is providing those skills for that organisation. This all means future opportunities for your students.
The Civil Service Fast Stream (recruitment for central Government Departments) has programmes in both finance and digital and technology at graduate and apprentice levels.
Capita (who, in its own words, provide technology-enabled business process management and outsourcing solutions across the public and private sectors) typically offers training as a Council Tax Officer at apprentice level and graduate schemes in pension administration, finance management, general ledger accountancy or software development.
Today’s businesses are often very diverse so, as well as those core functions of IT and finance, both Capita and the Civil Service have a whole range of opportunities where your students can use their STEM abilities and interests:
STEM jobs in other worlds
Where else can you look? What about retailers, the travel industry, entertainment, fashion or even heritage and conservation? These sectors might appeal to your students but they can’t see how that fits in with the STEM subjects they’re studying. Well, look no further; we’ve collated some examples of how STEM knowledge is infused in industries one may not initially expect.
STEM jobs in retail
Large retail groups have numerous roles and well-established apprenticeship and graduate programmes, leading to many STEM and STEM-related job roles.
For those with training and experience, jobs could include
- Space and Range Analyst, calculating which products are placed where in the stores to optimise the use of the shop floor.
- Digital Intelligence Analyst, seeking to minimise waste in perishable products.
These jobs use maths, IT and knowledge of food and other products from your students’ STEM repertoire.
Have look at Tesco’s current vacancies for other ideas.
- Maintenance Fitters/Multi-skilled Technicians for their stores
- Enterprise Architect, designing IT and other systems to deliver customer fulfilment
- Solution Architect, working on digital channels for e-commerce
- Home Electronics Selling Assistant, using electronics knowledge and enthusiasm to help customers
- Technical Services Partner providing technical help for customers
- Test Engineer for IT and other systems.
- Riverkeeper to help manage one of their estates (using a knowledge of fisheries management and outdoor conservation).
STEM jobs in fashion
As well as design, the fashion world offers needs people interested in the production of garments and fabrics. There are also IT and finance roles. For example:
Arcadia (Topshop, Miss Selfridge, Wallis, etc) have graduate opportunities in online trading or production (using maths and IT skills along with fashion knowledge) and graduate schemes in digital and finance.
Burberry is currently (summer 2018) advertising around 25 UK-based IT and finance jobs (for those with qualifications and experience).
Opportunities in textile production (with a range of companies) include:
- Garment Technology apprenticeship (requiring textiles GCSE or A level)
- Textile Production Finisher apprenticeship (using machinery for cutting, printing and welding fabric goods).
STEM jobs in travel
Large travel companies have a range of roles, many of which are STEM-related.
- Technical Project Manager
- Technical Service Manager
- Web Developer
- Trading Analyst.
STEM jobs in entertainment
The entertainment industry is increasingly technical and digital and is always looking for people with those skills and abilities for behind-the-scenes roles.
ITV has an apprenticeship programme which includes:
- Creative and digital media
- Production electrician
- Digital and social media.
Apprenticeships currently (summer 2018) on offer – in a variety of organisations across the UK – include:
- Apprentice joiner/set builder for live events
- Apprentice business analyst in the recorded music industry
- Finance apprenticeship in live event equipment rental.
(These are given as examples at the time of writing. A search on Find an Apprenticeship will show what’s available right now.)
Charity STEM jobs
The voluntary sector, too, offers STEM roles and training. For example:
Barnardos (who work with children and families) offer finance apprenticeships and jobs for trained Site Service Managers and Digital Service Managers.
The National Trust (which looks after historic buildings and protects open spaces) has apprenticeships in IT infrastructure and a graduate programme in building surveying.
World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) has jobs such as
- Marine Conservation Adviser
- Digital Producer
- IT Manager
- Project Manager (requiring finance as well as conservation science knowledge and qualifications).
It’s important to point out that the organisations mentioned here are just some examples of the huge world out there craving and needing those that have skills in and a knowledge of STEM. The aim is to give you and your students some fresh ideas about where to look for opportunities to kickstart a STEM career. You, and they, can take this further by looking at any organisation – large or small, public or private, profit or non-profit. Chances are, there’ll be some STEM opportunities waiting for them.
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Our daily lives involve finance, technology and data. The world of work is no different. Just about everyone at work uses some kind of IT (PC, handheld device, phone, wifi) to handle data and communication. Businesses exist to make money and public services have to show they are using our money carefully. All organisations have these ‘core’ functions as they all need them to carry out their business, whether that’s selling things, making things or providing a service. So although it’s tempting to automatically suggest the expected, STEM finds its way into the crevice of all businesses and so it’s vital for effective CEIAG to reveal the hidden.