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Throwback to School

I visited my high school the other day and it was such a surreal experience to think I’d left 4 years ago, but really it hadn’t felt like I’d left at all. Seeing my tutor and the Heads of A-level was so great to catch up with them, still the same old humour and supportiveness that I’d received at school.

I’d learnt that last year my school was unable to continue IT A-level because it had stopped existing by the exam board and because there wasn’t enough IT teachers to cover it, but they informed me that they are going to be bringing it back to my high school as a BTEC course. I’m so glad they’ve decided to bring it back because I personally felt that it was limiting the students, if I was a student there I probably wouldn’t have gone elsewhere for A-levels just because they’d stopped that one subject and it may not have led to what I’ve achieved over the last 4 years and the excitement I’ve found in IT and STEM.

With a lot of changes recently in government and the change to GCSEs, it’s left educators even more so chasing paperwork than concentrating on actual educating. I know the government are trying to entice STEM teacher training, but why would the majority of STEM graduates choose teaching over industry if the starting salary is at least £5K a year more in industry. I know it’s not all about money, but to live comfortable after university and be able to afford a house within several years, industry has to be chosen. Personally, I do want to go into teaching at some point in my career, but I want to gain industry experience before I do.

It can also be said that the people in charge of the curriculums do not understand STEM subjects (flashback to Mark Zukerberg’s hearing about Facebook) and the constant changing and innovation within them, this is why it’s hard to teach them because there’s so much content to cover… maybe they could and should, be split even further?

Regardless, of how STEM is being told to be taught or being taught, it’s apparent that it’s becoming more of a priority. 🤓

What else do you think the government or schools themselves can do to engage more students in STEM?

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Marie Claire: June 2018

Really appreciating Marie Claire UK for incorporating “power play” and how to be paid what you’re worth into a hit magazine that many women read. These are the kind of articles that do need to become a resident feature in mainstream magazines, to help build up strong women who know when (and how) to stand up to the gender pay gap and earn the money they deserve 💪

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12%

That is the percentage of female engineering and technology undergraduates in the UK.

This needs to change, and it is good to see it reported that the government is trying to push initiatives alongside industry leaders for a goal of equalism in these sectors. But, I think it would also be good to see the universities’ and colleges taking a more proactive approach to recruit, spark an interest and inspire women to do these degrees. Not just to boast the stats, but because this is what is needed.

I also think it is interesting that the article says “The challenge the modern woman has in the workforce is the expectation to do and be EVERYTHING.”, this could be why women don’t want to have that pressure whilst also trying to be heard in a male dominated industry, such as technology. I think there is an expectation to an extent as there are certainly more complications when wanting to advance your career and wanting a family, but it is important to remember this depends on the individuals involved.

Take a look at the full article:

http://www.womeninstem.co.uk/women-in-tech/government-initiatives-push-to-get-women-in-stem

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Made In Brunel

img_0208Yesterday evening I had the opportunity to present my dissertation to industry experts at Brunel University’s Made In Brunel: Software Innovation event! It was a really great evening and I met some very impressive people. I really enjoyed being able to talk through my dissertation project and gain feedback on the concept that I have been working on with GSK.

Four years ago I met one of my great friends on my course at a Made In Brunel event, which we were invited to as prospective students, since then it has always been a goal to present too, so I’m really happy that I was able to come full circle and end my university career where it had started.

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#eSociety

As a previous post shared to you all, in February I was fortunate enough to win the Outstanding IT Student Award 2018 given by the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists (WCIT). Since then I have been getting involved with the WCIT and have met some great people, one of them being David Barker who has agreed to be a mentor to me. Upon meeting him he gave me his book, #eSociety, to read and I want to encourage you all to read it also, not because he is my mentor but because I related to a lot of what he wrote.

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As well as some great entrepreneurial business techniques that can be learnt from #eSociety, the book can remind us all that through the hardships, unfairness and down-right bad luck which everybody meets both personally and professionally at some point in their lives; there’s always options we have to choose from for how we can drive ourselves through these adversities and some may not be obvious. A mixture of faith, personal and business life all wrapped into one inspirational book. I can relate to some aspects even at this point in my life, having to persevere through education when my Mum’s health has been bad has been difficult, but I choose the path to be there for my family whilst pursuing further education, it could have been easy to go in another direction. Other parts of the book detailing David’s business ventures and continual goal for providing support to the unemployed youth, showed to me how having a passion to work towards is important and to stop at nothing if it is something you truly believe in. It was also really interesting to learn more about how David has got to the place he has got, the odds were against him growing up and if it wasn’t for an opportunity of a business giving him a chance and a government programme to provide that, there is no knowing where his life would have led.

Throughout #eSociety, the message “power of networking” rings through, something that I’m really getting into and enjoying, with the help of the WCIT, an organisation which also aided David in working on his social entrepreneur goals. I would encourage you all to go to networking events, meet as many people as you can, because you never know what may come from making a good impression, to people who will remember.

Overall, it was a great read in understanding how somebody else got to where they are, learn about other’s hardships and successes; and through everything be optimistic that there was a goal they were meant to pursue.

 

If you would also like to read #eSociety, you can find it on Amazon.

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Why Don’t We Learn About STEM Vocations?

Growing up there is a lot you are taught to aspire to and careers that you go through phases of wanting to do (including become a fairy princess and cowboy…obviously feasible!) but, often these jobs don’t include STEM roles.

Even at school, the qualifications that are taught are mostly humanities subjects (History, English, Geography…). You have science and mathematics, and now compulsory IT, where theory is taught but these aren’t very encouraging to young people to inspire them to pursue it, consequently, people choose not to and often exclaim things such as “I hate maths”… trust me though, I didn’t like maths either. But likewise, I didn’t really enjoy IT at school either because the school system is so behind what real life was already teaching me, as part of my ICT GCSE I was asked to produce a flyer in Microsoft Publisher… which I already knew how to do since I first went on a PC when I was 10, yet 6 years on it was a piece of coursework.

The problem is that the curriculum doesn’t reflect nor prepare children for real life anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I love and still love school! One day I want to pursue teaching in some aspect. But I think it’s time for the government to catch up, children these days can lookup anything they want to learn on Google and can code better than the teachers. So instead of boring them and pushing them away from STEM subjects, why aren’t we showing them what they could do with those skills?

Of course children need to learn the basics and be well-rounded, but how about also asking them what they are interested in doing and giving them options. Maybe even create a mandatory subject for children to learn about different careers available to them and explaining how they can achieve it.

Some kids are lucky, my boyfriend knew he wanted to be a pilot from the age of 6, when he flew a lot to visit his grandparents in Berlin. But I wouldn’t have known at that age I wouldn’t have known at all that IT was the career path for me, unless my teacher at school had pushed me to look into it.

School should be a place for learning about current, real life, as well as theory, otherwise you end up with people wishing they’d chosen a different path.