STEM Learning are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the STEM Ambassador programme by calling for more schools and individuals to take part and change the lives of young people.
Delivered on behalf of UKRI, the programme sees 37,000 passionate volunteers from 7,000 UK employers use their time, expertise and skills to host STEM activities in schools and community groups, and inspire the next generation by delivering seminars, workshops, and STEM clubs – all free of charge.
In the last five years, these remarkable role models have run 181,000 of these activities, positively impacting millions of children of all ages in schools and colleges. They also adapted to the pandemic with many schools benefitting from virtual appearances from these inspirational role models.
Ben Dunn, Head of Monitoring and Evaluation at STEM Learning, said: “The amazing work that STEM Ambassadors do helps to generate social value and improve outcomes across the board, supporting the STEM sector in building the skills, knowledge and expertise for the future.
“Taking part in sustained STEM activities can transform a child’s attitude to STEM, resulting in a positive impact within both STEM and non-STEM careers, leading to a wage premium.
“74% of STEM Ambassadors are in full-time employment, with a further 23% in part-time employment - meaning a phenomenal amount of in-kind support is provided by employers and organisations.”
Yvonne Baker OBE, Chief Executive at STEM Learning, said: “We're extremely proud that the flagship STEM Ambassador programme, delivered on behalf of UKRI, has reached such a major milestone. It's incredible to think that some STEM professionals today may have been themselves influenced by our STEM Ambassadors in the programme’s early days.
“STEM Ambassadors truly are role models in STEM, providing real-life context for students to learn from and clear evidence of the many benefits of a STEM career pathway too. Their diversity challenges stereotypes – 45% are female and 15% are from UK minority ethnic backgrounds. Through #STEMStars, we want to inspire anyone thinking of becoming an Ambassador to do it!”
Professor Melanie J Welham, who’s UKRI Executive Champion for People, Culture and Talent, said: “UKRI is proud to have supported the STEM Ambassador programme and I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every volunteer for their amazing dedication and enthusiasm.
“The number of volunteer hours undertaken by STEM Ambassadors over the last 20 years has been incredible. They have provided a vital connection between employers and young people, which has been transformational in inspiring children from all backgrounds to explore STEM and consider the diverse range of careers in STEM, research and innovation.”
Darrel Njogu, who’s an Aerospace Engineer and STEM Ambassador, said: “You might not get to see it, but as a STEM Ambassador you could change a child’s perspective. They could remember something you’ve said which could change everything. You’ve given them that nugget which leads to inspiration to continue. It ignites that flame.”
Find out how schools and colleges can get involved in the programme here, and discover how to become a STEM Ambassador here. If you're a STEM Ambassador, you can also join the new STEM Ambassador Community here to network with other Ambassadors.