Show young people where STEM could take them
Sherry Coutu CBE, Executive Chairman & Founder, Founders4Schools
At Founders4Schools we are singularly focused on bringing tools and techniques commonly available to consumers and professionals in the finance, advertising and publishing sectors to the world of education. We make it easy for every student between the ages of 13 and 16 to connect with employers, either in school or in their workplaces, to improve employability and social mobility. We can even help them to secure work experience if they are over 16.
We do this by searching local labour market databases and applying employability best practice to create personalised recommendations, so educators can enable super-smart connections between the right employer and the right student at the right time. It really is that simple… but our young people need to have the right kinds of skills to be attractive to these employers in the first place.
It’s critical to encourage students to take STEM subjects at age 13 so they have the skills for the jobs of the future. But if you are a physics teacher how can you encourage them to stick with the subject? A visit from a business leader could make all the difference. Studying biology could allow young entrepreneurs to create companies like Abcam, Oncology Systems limited, Horizon Discovery Babylon and change the lives of billions of people for the better? Chemistry? Is it all about test-tubes or is it about creating solutions like Billy Boyle did with Owlstone Medical after his wife died of Cancer?
Science is everywhere and sharing a passion for science subjects leads into high impact amazing careers. Those of us who are passionate about this have joined together to create tools that allow the next generation to see where the jobs are going to be, and to connect students with these great and growing businesses. There are 990,000 open positions requiring STEM subjects and that gap is growing so we need to move at pace! Just hearing a business leader speak in their school leads to a three-fold increase in the likelihood of a student taking a STEM subject.
We mind the Gap! If you also mind the gap, help us ensure that skills taught in those subjects are directly relevant in the external world and mention services like Founders4schools to a teacher to encourage them to connect their students with science-based employers.
Sherry Coutu is a former CEO and angel investor who serves on the boards of companies, charities and universities. She chairs Founders4Schools and is a non-executive member of Cambridge University (Finance Board), Cambridge Assessment, Cambridge University Press and a NED of Zoopla and the London Stock Exchange Group. She also serves on the Advisory Board of Linkedin.com.
Philanthropically, she supports the Prince’s Trust, the Crick Institute and serves on the Harvard Business School European Advisory Council. Sherry has an MBA from Harvard, an MSc (with distinction) from the London School of Economics, and a BA (Hons with distinction) from the University of British Columbia, Canada. She was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to entrepreneurship in the New Year’s Honours List 2013, is author of ‘The Scale-up Report’ on UK economic growth and serves as an Ambassador for London.