Following recent events, the future of our next generation is even more uncertain and the opportunity to plug the ever-widening digital skills gap, with young hungry talent, is becoming increasingly challenging.
In the UK we have traditionally been known as a creative nation, one that prides itself in its ability to develop innovation culture and engender an entrepreneurial spirit in its approach to business.
However, last week the National Union of Teachers (NUT) held a strike and the union’s acting leader Kevin Courtney told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Class sizes are going up. We are being told of schools where there will be classes of 35 in September. Art, dance and drama teachers are being made redundant or not being replaced when they leave – individual attention for children is going down.”
We need to find a way to continue to engage students in creative subjects and champion the arts alongside STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) based subjects. The way to do this is to create a head of STE(A)M where the creativity is injected through the Arts based subjects.
The Next Generation – IoT (Internet of Things) Challenge, design workshop, with Reading based students that was run in June as part of a series of events championing STE(A)M, is a good example of what we can do here.
Run at GROW@GreenPark we invited IT and business students from Reading Girls School and Henley Business School to join us and partnered them with mentors from Nvidia, KPMG and 1854 Concepts. They all came together for a fun filled day of creativity and collaboration.
The students formed teams and were asked to generate concepts using Design Thinking #designthinking methodology.
At the end of the session each team delivered a five-minute ‘pitch’ to a panel of judges and a winning concept was selected.
The day was energetic with both the students and mentors throwing themselves into the challenge with great enthusiasm, meaning the day was fast paced and a lot of fun.
One student commented…
“This has been the most exciting and fun day I’ve had (outside of school) ever!!”
What better inspiration and motivation to want to continue to fight for Arts based subjects in education?
If you would like to get involved and help us champion STE(A)M, find out more about how you can join us either in person or through collaborating remotely with our Westminster event on 1st November