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Words&Pictures (Commercial) Ltd, The Editorial Design Centre, Wharfebank House, Ilkley Road, Leeds LS21 3JP


How do you interest young people in STEM? Trust in Youth

David Norton • 22nd May

Britain is great at STEM and a leading global power in this field. Engineering brings £1.4 TRILLION into the UK, which is 25% of all UK turnover. 5.4 million people are employed across STEM enterprises.

However, we need more engineers.

The government have predicted that we need an additional 186 million skilled engineers by 2020. If we don’t act this potential skills shortage could stunt economic growth.

Words&Pictures are taking on this challenge. Employers are always asking us to create innovative ways to raise awareness of STEM careers for all students and, in particular females, who make up just 20% of the younger generation studying STEM courses at A Level.

How best then to engage young people in this career path? At Words&Pictures we believe the answer is to Trust in Youth.

Our fantastic TIY initiative gives students, at our partner schools, the opportunity to have their say on real briefs – directly influencing the routes companies take to reach young people. We decided to challenge the year 8 pupils (300+) at Beckfoot School in Bradford to come up with the answer to the challenge of the STEM skills gap in the UK.

On the 20th April, the school collapsed the timetable for year 8’s to allow a deep learning day focused on career opportunities. The day started with a career’s fair where pupils could talk to national and local employers and further education providers about career paths. This was followed by lively interactive workshops with organisations that included Northern Gas Networks and the Institute of Chartered Accountants for England and Wales (ICAEW).

The culmination of the day was the presentation of the Words&Pictures brief to all of the participating students. We asked, after seeing the range of career options available, how they would encourage their peers to pursue a STEM focused career. How can STEM employers appeal to students their age? What medium should they be communicating in? How can employers get across the opportunities available to both parents and young people?

Over the next four weeks teams of students at Beckfoot School will be working on the answers to these questions ready to present back to their teachers. The teams with the best ideas will then be given the opportunity to pitch their ideas (in true agency style) to the team at Words&Pictures and one of our STEM focused partnering clients.

We are confident the input from these young people will be insightful and innovative. Importantly, we believe it will genuinely help to develop effective strategies to encourage STEM career paths and address the potential skills gap we are soon to face.

Trust in Youth? Words&Pictures does.


Words&Pictures would like to thank the staff and pupils at Beckfoot School for the opportunity to work with them, especially Assistant Head Teacher Darren Cooley who facilitated the day.

We would also like to thank our clients Northern Gas Networks and ICAEW for their willingness to support throughout the day. 

01943 854 800

Words&Pictures (Commercial) Ltd
The Editorial Design Centre
Wharfebank House
Ilkley Road
LS21 3JP