Over 100 volunteers from Marks & Spencer’s IT team and Tata Consultancy Services are going into schools to help prepare teachers and children for the more rigorous IT curriculum that is coming into force next year.
The new curriculum requires children to learn how to code from the age of five. M&S and Tata, working with STEMNET, which aims to raise the profile of STEM skills in the UK, have designed classroom activities to address topics such as algorithms. They have also created an activity guide to support teachers in the long term.
In addition, they have pledged to provide further volunteer support in the future.
Pete Schofield, head of IT operations at M&S, said: “The IT industry has an important role to play in inspiring the next generation, that’s why we’ve chosen to work with STEMNET.
“I hope we can make a big difference to those schools we work with and I’m sure it will be an inspirational day for the volunteers too.”
Nupur Mallick, director of HR, UK and Ireland, TCS, agreed, saying that businesses can help close the UK’s STEM skills gap by “helping to shift perceptions of STEM jobs among the next generation of workers and inspiring them to gain STEM skills”.
The 109 volunteers will be going into 15 schools to help deliver IT lessons over the next week.
STEMNET runs a government-backed ‘STEM Ambassadors’ programme, where volunteers from business are sent into schools to highlight the job opportunities in the sector, to help address skills shortages in the UK.
According to the organisation, nine out of 10 teachers said that this programme had increased pupil’s awareness of STEM subjects and their real world applications.
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