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Next Steps in STEM

As Careers Lead, I had the fantastic opportunity to go to Bournemouth University last term for a STEM conference. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths and it turns out that there is a huge career gap for these job roles. With our aging population there are increasing gaps in nursing and engineering specifically, with only 1 in 5 females working in STEM roles too. 

We have some very exciting companies based right here in Dorset that are STEM focused. For example, Yunex who create all traffic signals in the county are based in Poole, experimenting with technologies to create efficient traffic systems. The Etches Museum in Kimmeridge has been on television recently because a ginormous fossil of a Pliosaur was found. David Attenborough came down to see the amazing scientific discoveries taking place on our very own coastline! REID Steel are based in Christchurch and are currently developing robo-tracking technology- do you want to build a robot?! The RNLI offers apprenticeships and work experience, with videos on their webpage promoting females working in engineering. Curtis Wright have over 600 employees producing black boxes for aeroplanes.


Apprenticeships have grown significantly over the years, in variety and popularity, with 73 apprenticeships available in the immediate area (Find an apprenticeship - GOV.UK ( Apprenticeships can even be accessed at degree and masters level too, with Bournemouth & Poole CollegeBrockenhurst and the local universities offering placements (BUAECC). 

Level 1 qualifications are lower than GCSE; Level 2 is GCSE equivalent; Level 3 is A level equivalent, and Level 4 and 5 moving up to degree. Usually, students can access Level 3 courses if students have achieved GCSEs particularly in Maths and English, and apprenticeships are only offered at Level 2. But no fear, Level 1 is available too, and students can often complete this within one year before moving onto the next level. Levels are extremely broad and accessible and recognised by many companies, making it easier to gain an apprenticeship or learn a trade.

T Levels are also now an option, where students can go to college 4 days a week and visit a workplace for one day. This is the perfect pathway for students who may find full apprenticeships daunting. It is exciting to hear about all these available options for our young people and what local colleges have to offer nowadays. 

At The Lion Works School, we now offer work experience in Year 10 and there is a detailed Careers Programme in place to ensure students have all the information they need for their future careers.  For our students in particular, vocational pathways are extremely viable options. With the new generation of students growing up surrounded by evolving technology, climate change and the push for sustainability, STEM roles are an exciting vision for future careers. 

If you'd like to learn more about available apprenticeships in Dorset, you can visit the STEM village at the Bournemouth Air Festival, speak to Bournemouth & Poole College, or pop me and email to find out more:

Nicole Davey.

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