The ambitious SmartSTEMs programme of events was recently launched with schools and colleges in Southwest Scotland and Cumbria. At these events, young people will have the opportunity to meet role models who work in dairy industry careers ranging from haulage to cheese makers. They will also be able to take part in interactive workshops and activities designed to highlight the role of STEM in the industry and its application from ‘Grass to Glass’. The aim is to inspire young people and develop a long-term pipeline of talent for the sector in the region.
In a recent visit to Carslae Farm near Newton Stewart, Geography students from Douglas Ewart High School heard about the range of exciting, high-skilled jobs that are available in the dairy industry. They also saw how cutting-edge technology is transforming the farmer’s way of working. Organised by Tracy Martin from the Royal Highland Education Trust (RHET), students toured the farm’s calving shed and saw the its Lely robotic milking parlour. Sharing some #My Job # My Journey videos, SmartSTEMs Mark Robertson showcased the great job opportunities that exist for young people in Dumfries and Galloway.
SmartSTEMs has also been working with the Douglas Ewart High School by participating in their Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) Work Ready Day. Engaging with over 180 students, SmartSTEMs ran 6 workshops that took students on a virtual dairy farm tour and a virtual dairy processing factory tour. Rounding off with a quiz and a ‘No Wrong Path’ segment about his own experiences, Mark was able to highlight the many different pathways that can lead to a successful and fulfilling career.
Earlier this week, SmartSTEMs took the Digital Dairy Chain message to Cumbria, where they participated in the inaugural STEM Conference at Myerscough College which was attended by over 800 students. They delivered a well-received interactive session on the Science of Milk and students also heard a keynote speech from representatives of LELY who talked about the growing role of robotics in farming.
SmartSTEMs recognise the importance of inspiring young people from an early age. So, they have been putting their “money where their mouth” is by recently participating in a dairy farm visit for pupils from the Calside Primary School. SmartSTEMs delivered a ‘make your own ice cream’ activity where over 80 pupils learned about the science of milk and its properties, as well as learning how to make ice cream at home!
Key to the successful delivery of SmartSTEMs’ ambitious engagement programme is their network of collaborators and volunteers. Building this network in the dairy and related technology sectors is ongoing. Recent activity has included attendance at the Annual CENSIS Tech Summit which was attended by some 600 participants from the technology industries. If you are interested in working with SmartSTEMs, either as a participating school or as a volunteer, role model or collaborator get in touch with the team.