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CA Technologies has launched a programme to help teachers better understand the types of skills that will be needed for future jobs.
The Stem Ambassador Academy, which ran for the first time in February 2018, was developed to give teachers greater insight into science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) roles and the path students can take into careers in these areas.
The first group of teachers to take part in the academy, from more than 10 secondary schools across the UK, attended workshops focused on Stem skills and an introduction to unconscious bias and gender stereotyping to help them to spot and diffuse these behaviours in a classroom environment.
Sarah Atkinson, vice-president of communications for EMEA at CA Technologies, and a board member at TechUK, said the Stem Ambassador Academy was designed to connect with school teachers who are able to support and influence students when making career choices and encourage them into Stem.
“There is a chronic skills gap in Stem in Europe – too few young people, especially girls, are studying these subjects and then going into related careers,” she said. “From the classroom to boardroom, many factors impact young people’s perceptions of Stem.”
Not only are there not enough computing teachers in the UK, but many teachers feel they do not have the skills needed to properly teach tech concepts such as coding.
As part of CA’s Ambassador Academy, teachers are taught about concepts such as agile working through the Agile Fundamentals Lego workshop, which puts an emphasis on the softer skills firms require for technology roles, including team collaboration, creative thinking and problem solving.
Alongside parents, teachers can be some of the biggest influencers for children when they are deciding on the type of career they want to pursue, but unfortunately many teachers have admitted to gender stereotyping Stem subjects.
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Employer network The Tech Partnership will also help teachers to better understand routes into technology, such as apprenticeships and degrees, and share online resources to help teachers to encourage young women into these careers.
Many children who are currently in education will eventually have jobs that don’t exist yet. Karen Price, chief executive of the Tech Partnership, said it was important for teachers to keep up with the pace of change in the tech space to ensure children have the skills they need to fill these roles when the time comes.
“This is a welcome initiative. We know it’s very challenging for teachers to stay informed about the rate of change in technology, given their own busy careers,” she said.
“Promoting the benefits of tech education in schools and bringing exciting career paths to life with children through working with industry is an excellent approach. This is the type of collaborative initiative we need to ensure the next generation of tech talent in the UK can thrive in tomorrow’s digital world.”
As part of trying to have an ongoing relationship with teachers and promote technology role models, CA Technologies will also ensure its own employees, known as CA Stem Ambassadors, will visit schools to help emphasise the importance of Stem skills and careers for the future of the UK.
The Stem Ambassador Academy is part of CA Technologies’ Create Tomorrow campaign, as well as its pledge to reach and inspire 50,000 students in Europe who are under 18 to consider Stem careers by 2020. It is run in the UK in partnership with not-for-profit Learning to Work.