Conducting a Virtual STEM Teacher Placement

When Liverpool City Region Growth Platform organised a teacher on site visit earlier this year, Curtins never thought that we would be working from home in a global pandemic and in response, hosting a virtual STEM teacher placement instead.

Shifting our approach to maximise the placement opportunity remotely, we planned some key objectives into the half-day Zoom session that would introduce Pete West from Prescot School to Curtins, our ethos and continued commitment to developing and investing in talent.

Principally, our key objective for encouraging STEM engagement with teachers, young people and parents is to not only inform, but to spark curiosity and excitement around the limitless opportunities within the industry.

Regardless of the format for delivery, we agreed that the main placement objectives were to:

  • Inform about the world of work, giving insight into roles and responsibilities and the key skills Curtins are looking for in a potential employee.
  • Provide an understanding of how to relate engineering careers to the curriculum and the teacher’s subject; in this case Science.
  • Help Prescot School build an employer network to support students and teachers in finding suitable work placements and other opportunities such as apprenticeships. In doing so, we aimed to provide a deeper understanding of the career opportunities within both the local, regional and national markets.

Following the virtual placement, Pete West has shared some of his thoughts on the experience:

What surprised you about the workplace you experienced and its virtual format?

“There are many more areas to work in within the company than I realised. In this respect, also hadn’t appreciated how many apprenticeships and graduate schemes were available at Curtins and other companies in the construction sector. In regard to the virtual format, I have to admit that I wasn’t sure how it would work at first, but it was very informative.”

What was your best learning from the experience?

“How the science curriculum can relate to the everyday engineering area and how I, and other teachers, can build this into the school programme of delivery. To begin, I am going to introduce this cross-over to my year 8 and 9 pupils.”

What will you be able to share with pupils from your experience?

“The skills and attributes Curtins look for during the recruitment process, particularly for apprenticeship and graduate roles. I’ll also be able to impart the different expertise within the engineering workplace, as well as the diversity of roles and technical knowledge or ability.”

What were the benefits of running the session online? Any disadvantages?

“There was no travel or waiting time, but most notably it was easy to share information and the Q&A format offered opportunity to ask questions throughout the virtual experience. Curtins contacted me before the placement to discuss my personal objectives, which allowed them to create a bespoke session for my individual learning requirements. For teachers, I could see this format being more beneficial than face-to-face sessions in the workplace.”

Will you continue to engage with Curtins?

“Yes, I think it’s important to continue building the school’s network with businesses and engage with Curtins during our internal careers activities to provide the best opportunities for our students.”

If you would like to find out more about our teacher placement opportunities, please contact the Learning & Development team at Rebecca.king@curtins.com