Stephen Plumridge

Managing Director - Cantium Scientific Limited and Dracotec Limited

Why did you become an Ambassador?
Schools need more support with teaching STEM subjects, particularly at primary level. I see this even more so now having two children in primary school. When I was at school there was no outside support and everything relied on the teachers. I was lucky in that the maths and science teachers were originally professional engineers before becoming teachers and could bring that knowledge to the subjects. Some teachers I've met recently have little STEM work experience beyond the class room, though much enthusiasm, so need the extra support a STEM Ambassador can provide.

How much time do you commit to Ambassador Activities?
I've never planned to commit a regular amount of time as school needs and my own availability varies so much.

What activities have you been involved in?
Most activities have been talking to pupils from a careers advice perspective to mock job interviews for STEM careers. There's been very little in the way of hands on practical STEM activities or demonstrations, probably because the schools in my local area already have excellent provision for this.

What do you feel were the positive outcomes for the pupils?
At a recent school science day I was asked to give a talk to year 9/10 pupils at a girls school about how I became interested in a STEM career, how I've progressed over the years, the education and training undertaken and my work experiences. There were over a hundred pupils present and at the start of the talk I asked for a show of hands of who was interested in a STEM career. Only half a dozen put their hands up. At the end of the talk I asked the same question - at least thirty hands were raised.

I've been asked on several occasions to judge at STEM competitions, from individual school events to regional finals of Primary Engineer. The competitions are always great fun and judging very difficult as standards are high for all. I see these activities as vital for children, by exposing them to the real competitive world and thinking beyond normal school requirements. The teams that don't win always say "next year I'm going to do this and that to make it better" - another important life lesson of persevering and striving to make things better - vital skills for a future Engineer.

What do you feel were the positive outcomes for yourself?
A great sense of hope that today's children are going to create an exciting future.

Do you have any tips for future STEM Ambassadors?
Show your enthusiasm for your subject; forget the corporate presentation style and have fun demonstrating how exciting and diverse STEM can be.

 

"Some teachers I've met recently have little STEM work experience beyond the class room, though much enthusiasm, so need the extra support a STEM Ambassador can provide."