Many school students don’t have access to reliable careers advice and recent research has highlighted the concerning pattern that the students who would benefit most receive the least support. Careers Zone aims to give students an accessible way to find out about STEM careers and talk to people in these roles year round. This follows the Gatsby Foundation model of providing multiple meaningful workplace interactions for students.
Wessex Water sponsored the pilot, allowing us to initially provide it to selected schools for free. We’re now able to make a case to more organisations for rolling it out on a much wider scale and reach more students interested in STEM careers. This year the UK Space Agency are supporting a Space Careers section, STFC are providing access for students in their physics zones as part of the new Legacy Award funding and the SFI’s Discover programme is providing support for Irish schools and professionals to join the zone.
Have you taken part in one of the online I’m a Scientist/I’m an Engineer zones or other similar events?
What will happen
Students at selected schools will be able to log in and use the Careers Zone to read profiles and send in ASK questions. The STEM professionals (that is, you) will write update their profiles and write back your answers, just like in a normal school zone. There may also be drop-in style live chats every now and then.
What this means for you
Profile The pilot showed these are the most valuable parts of the site for students. You’ll now be able to update yours to reflect developments in your career, add Profile Tags to help students find it based on their own interests and upload photos easier to show them around your workplace.
ASK Students can send questions to you or one of the other 100 or so STEM professionals in the zone when they think of them. This means you might receive a couple of ASK questions to answer each month from curious students wanting to find out about STEM careers.
Drop in LIVE CHAT You’ll be emailed about these a week before each one. To take part, just leave a comment on the booking as you did for your competitive zone so we know to expect you.
Time commitment This will be much, much less than a normal school zone, so don’t worry about answering mountains of questions all year. We are moderating every question so it gets sent to the most relevant people out of the 150+ in the zone.
How to be useful in Careers Zone
Please do update your profile, especially the new questions specifically about your career journey and the Profile Tags- these are the only way students will find you on the site! In ASK, think a bit about how you can best answer questions from students. Put yourself in the shoes of a student, then provide suggestions for next steps or paste in useful links. For example, for a question like ‘How do I get into civil engineering?’ think about specific next steps you can tell the student to take, such as ways to gain experience, or maybe companies they should contact, and links they should visit.
Please don’t only suggest googling things. They’ve probably tried this and when faced with a screen of blue links didn’t know where to begin. Your experience means you can be a curator for students, signposting them to genuinely useful information through your answers.
What you need to do once you’re in
To give the students more careers relevant information, there are new careers-focused sections on your profile. When you have your new log in details, please spend a couple of minutes filling them in, especially the parts about your qualifications, such as A-Levels, GCSE subjects, etc.
What you get
As well as the usual benefits of practicing your communication skills and the warm fuzzy feeling of helping students find out more about STEM, we’re working on an ‘expert reward scheme’ to say thank you in a more concrete and show off-able way. You’ve already got your mug, so stay tuned for news on more rewards coming to those who do chats and answer ASK questions in the zone :).
And that’s it! Get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org or on +44 1225 326 892 if you have any questions about the zone. You can get involved by emailing or filling in the STEM professionals registration form. If you’d rather not be involved any more for any reason, just let us know and we’ll deactivate your profile on the site so you don’t receive questions.