STEMNET (as of August 2016 merged with STEM Learning) is a national organisation which creates links between employers (including universities) and educators. As part of this it manages the UK’s network of over 30,000 STEM Ambassadors. Ambassadors volunteer with a huge range of activities from careers talks to mentoring school projects, delivering demonstration sessions to helping with mock job interviews, from providing technical advice to judging competitions and more.
Ambassadors are recruited from those working in a wide range of STEM-based careers and professions including environmental scientists, civil engineers, marine biologists, medical physicists, pharmacists, energy analysts, architects, apprentices, zoologists, set designers, climate change scientists, farmers, geologists, nuclear physicists, technicians, pharmacists and many more.
As well as an induction sessions, the following training is offered to all registered ambassadors for free:
· Extension Training. The STEM Ambassadors Extension Training covers communication skills, body language and vocal inflection, and will also help you start to think about designing an activity. It is available as either a two-hour face-to-face training session, or as an online training.
· Powerful Practicals. We know that the more interactive and hands-on you can make your activities, the more engaging they will be. The Powerful Practicals training looks at how you can turn your good ideas into a practical activity. The training is available either as a two-hour face-to-face training, or as an online toolkit.
· People Like Me. Developed by the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) campaign, the People Like Me approach is an initiative designed to speak to girls aged 11-14 on their terms and demonstrate that STEM is very much for “people like them”. The two-and-a-half-hour People Like Me Training for STEM Ambassadors covers the underlying principles of the approach as well as practical advice on how to run effective activities with girls. It is based on the engagement research report ‘Not for People Like Me’.
Teachers, schools and colleges can request ambassador participation/offer volunteering opportunities for specific events and access free services, expert advice and support, for example with extra-curricular clubs.
The network is managed regionally, collating requests from schools and organising STEM clubs and other events, and disseminating these regular updates of volunteering and training opportunities to local ambassadors. In Central South England the regional STEM Learning ambassador network is managed by the Winchester Science Centre:
Student Language Ambassador Scheme (Routes into Languages)
Routes into Languages was a national consortium of 67 universities funded by HEFCE which have been working together to increase and widen participation in language learning in schools, colleges and universities since 2006. Partner universities organised a wide range of activities aimed at motivating and enthusing learners to continue with their languages and at raising aspirations and attainment. Many activities have also enabled, indirectly, teacher networking, curriculum support and joint working within universities, i.e. schools of Education working together with Modern Languages departments.
One of the key strengths of Routes was their Student Ambassador Scheme which saw language degree students participating in and co-ordinating activities in schools. The scheme has reached such maturity that students who were first enthused to study languages by a visit from a Routes student ambassador have now become MFL teachers themselves and brought their pupils to current Routes activities.
Although officially completed, many universities still run such activities as a result of involvement in Routes. For more information and to get involved see: