Business led STEM (Science Technology, Engineering and Maths) experience day for young people.

TeenTech is a one day interactive programme with a supporting Awards Scheme founded by a UK broadcast presenter. It aims to change perceptions of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) careers amongst teenagers and their teachers and act as a catalyst to encourage industry to engage with young people. The event is offered to school pupils aged 13 and 14.

  • Encourage young people to consider STEM subjects
  • Have the opportunity to inspire and inform students
  • Show what it means to work for STEM companies and the skills you need from future employees
  • Give students and teachers first-hand information on career paths in the sector
  • Let employer’s staff act as inspirational role models
  • Change the stereotypical perception of STEM careers being “difficult”, “geeky” or “boring”.

The day is split into five sections, first comes a welcome and gathering of some initial perceptions. 300 children are then broken up into teams of 10, each with an Ambassador from a STEM employer. The teams then rotate around three activities before the final session which draws the day together and gathers evaluation.

The main three slots in the middle of the day are:

  • An hour long business challenge where teams compete against each other to imagine, design and present a technology product or project.
  • Two half hour challenges where young people get hands on experience of a STEM issue presented by businesses and related to their area of activity. E.g. Water company challenge on pipework and pumps, rail company on signalling.
  • Three twenty minute presentations where young people listen to a presenter from a STEM company discussing their career, their company and how to get into it.

The day culminates in a prize giving for the best idea to come out of the one hour challenge.

How this resource relates to Shaping Characters objectives

  • Attitudes and attributes
  • Education techniques
  • Innovative approach
  • Motivation and resilience
  • Partnership working

Actual outcomes

From the start to the end of the day pupils perceptions are measured, changes being:

  • Awareness of opportunities to become a scientist rose from 5% to 20%
  • Awareness of opportunities to become an engineer rose from 11% to 27%
  • Awareness of opportunities to become an technologist rose from 7% to 22%

Lastly students were asked having completed Teentech are you more or less likely to choose a STEM course in the future – 86% said they were more likely.

We have tracked those who attended the activity in 2012 and found 66% had continued STEM subjects into their studies (age 18) national average is 30%.

Resources required

  • Volunteers provided free of charge by business.
  • Venue and audio visual cost approx. £10000
  • Input from the national Teentech organisation and TV presenter costs £4000.
  • Resources cost £500
  • Project co-ordination costs £8000

How was it funded?

Charge to school of approx. £300 per team. Business sponsorship is then sourced to provide the rest of the funding.

Time needed

Business volunteers time – Approximately 6 hours each to prepare and present to the children.

Project co-ordination averages at 100 person days for the event.

What could have been done differently or is planned for future repeats?

  • Wider range of organisations representing more ICT aspects of STEM industries (tends to be too engineering biased).
  • The event has now run five times so is quite slick and refined.
  • Future adjustments are to continue the event into the twilight period and open the exhibition challenges and presentations to a wider range of pupils (the 300 attending represent about 5% of the local 14 to 18 year old population).

How was or could the project be sustained?

Business sponsorship is key. Major businesses are invited to join a steering board for the event, keeping it fresh throughout the year and providing opportunities to engage new businesses.

Thank you for inviting us to the Teentech event. The event was superb and my students really enjoyed it. The range of industries represented was excellent. My students certainly came away with some very interesting career ideas.

Quote from teacher at Wavell School

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