Enhancing the Employability Skills of STEM Student Ambassadors

Student Ambassadors play a key part in HE outreach activities as enthusiastic and capable role models; their participation in these programmes means a greater capacity to deliver activity and ensures that the messages are delivered by people that the pupils can identify with. In turn, Student Ambassadors develop a wide range of skills through their participation in these activities; skills that are highly valued by employers.

This collaborative project, developed following support from the south west region of the National HE STEM Programme, addressed two particular priority areas; supporting the demand in schools for STEM activities and improving the employability of undergraduates in STEM subjects.

HEIs across the South West engage with schools and colleges in a range of outreach activities. In this work, student ambassadors play a key part as enthusiastic and capable role models; their participation in these programmes means that more students can be reached and ensures that the messages are delivered by people that the pupils can identify with. In turn, student ambassadors develop a wide range of skills through their participation in these activities; skills that are highly valued by employers.

However, many ambassadors both fail to recognise the transferability of the skills they are developing and to recognise that their experiences as an Ambassador can provide them with evidence for the key skills and attributes that employers are looking for.

This project developed a sustainable approach to ambassador training that focused explicitly on the skills ambassadors acquire through their work in schools and colleges, and help them to articulate these in the context of a graduate job application.

Aims & Objectives

The aim of the project was to:
Improve the employability skills of existing STEM and STEMNET ambassadors during their time at University through the delivery of training workshops and resources that encourage them to reflect on their ambassador experience, recognise the skills they have developed and learn how best to sell these to potential employers.

The project:

1. Designed and developed 'employability skills' and 'train the trainer' workshops, trialling and refining workshop materials through roll-out at three universities - Bath, Exeter and Plymouth

2. Produced a series of case studies where students who had participated as delegates and trainers in the process reflected on their learning in relation to key employability skills

 

This activity was undertaken as a part of the National HE STEM Programme, via the South West Spoke. For more information on South West Spoke projects, please see www.hestem-sw.org.uk. For more information on the overall national programme, please see www.hestem.ac.uk.