View from the Chamber week 24

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Lochaber Chamber of Commerce is proud to host the West Highland team of the Scottish Government’s Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) initiative.

This week Colleen MacLean from DYW West Highland gives us an insight into the work it does with young people and employers across Lochaber, Wester Ross and Skye to engage young people in STEM subjects.

STEM is a curriculum-based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines — science, technology, engineering and mathematics. It is the DYW vision in Scotland to encourage and support the development of young people’s STEM capability, to make sure we have the knowledge, passion and skills to drive the local economy.

Within the DYW WH remit, we promote employers’ engagement with schools and colleges, encouraging pupils to consider STEM-related subjects and inspire them to pursue higher education and careers in those fields.

Recently we have been involved in a variety of activities that have provided an interdisciplinary and applied approach which demonstrates STEM subjects in real-world applications with local employers.

Recent examples include a trip on the Royal Navy patrol vessel from Fort Augustus to Corpach, organised by the Highland Reserve Forces and Cadets. The Royal Navy showed off STEM in action by highlighting all the transferable skills on offer, which can be linked to curriculum subjects.

More employer-led STEM-focused events have been held at Lundavra Primary School, and the Big Bang events at Lochaber and Portree high schools. At all these events, neighbouring schools were invited along to reap the benefits of seeing STEM in action.

Kinlochleven High School also hosted its own STEM event to showcase its renewable energy manifesto that included thinking of effective techniques to generate future renewable power sources.

This is the Year of Young People and we’re looking forward to continuing to showcase the local opportunities available to young people. We would encourage all employers to offer work-based learning opportunities. Your help ensures our future employees have the right knowledge for your industry.

If you’d like to find out about how to help young people, give call 01397 705765 to find out about apprenticeships, work experience and other ways your business can help create the future workforce.