Futureintech can support Future Transport students
March 24 2017. Students entering the Future Transport Competition could learn more about related careers via visits from professionals.
Science, technology and maths (STEM) are core areas of knowledge and skill for the professionals involved in designing and building New Zealand’s transport networks.
Some of these people – including planners and transport, civil and environmental engineers – are available to visit schools through the Futureintech programme.
Futureintech supports learning in STEM subjects with the aim of encouraging more young people to consider related tertiary study and careers.
What a visit involves
Gay Watson, one of the programme’s facilitators, says volunteer ambassadors can spend anything from 20 minutes to an hour or two with a class. Their visit might involve leading an activity or giving a presentation about careers in transport engineering.
Futureintech’s ambassadors are usually recent graduates in the early stages of their careers. Before visiting schools, they’ve taken time to reflect on their own careers and worked out how to tell their stories in simple terms.
“They can relate to the students, and their career pathways are still relevant and available,” says Gay.
“We get wonderful feedback. Teachers see it as a way to bring to life the learning that students are doing. It makes relevant connections between the curriculum and careers.”
Ambassadors visit students from senior primary and upwards, with an emphasis on Years 5-10.
“They can provide a lot of information and inspiration for students who are beginning to make those important subject choices than can impact on careers.”
The programme is well established. Some young professionals now volunteering as ambassadors say they were themselves influenced as school students in their career thinking by a visit from a Futureintech ambassador.
The programme runs in the main centres and is expanding into most regional areas, supported by a comprehensive website. In 2016, over 2700 visits took place. Some visits are virtual, via skype. School students can also post career questions to an online forum, with answers coming from the ambassadors.
It’s hard to directly measure the impact of the programme, but Ministry of Education statistics quoted by Futureintech show that tertiary students studying technology, engineering and science rose from 18 per cent of the total in 2010 to 21 per cent in 2015.