Growing up there is a lot you are taught to aspire to and careers that you go through phases of wanting to do (including become a fairy princess and cowboy…obviously feasible!) but, often these jobs don’t include STEM roles.
Even at school, the qualifications that are taught are mostly humanities subjects (History, English, Geography…). You have science and mathematics, and now compulsory IT, where theory is taught but these aren’t very encouraging to young people to inspire them to pursue it, consequently, people choose not to and often exclaim things such as “I hate maths”… trust me though, I didn’t like maths either. But likewise, I didn’t really enjoy IT at school either because the school system is so behind what real life was already teaching me, as part of my ICT GCSE I was asked to produce a flyer in Microsoft Publisher… which I already knew how to do since I first went on a PC when I was 10, yet 6 years on it was a piece of coursework.
The problem is that the curriculum doesn’t reflect nor prepare children for real life anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I love and still love school! One day I want to pursue teaching in some aspect. But I think it’s time for the government to catch up, children these days can lookup anything they want to learn on Google and can code better than the teachers. So instead of boring them and pushing them away from STEM subjects, why aren’t we showing them what they could do with those skills?
Of course children need to learn the basics and be well-rounded, but how about also asking them what they are interested in doing and giving them options. Maybe even create a mandatory subject for children to learn about different careers available to them and explaining how they can achieve it.
Some kids are lucky, my boyfriend knew he wanted to be a pilot from the age of 6, when he flew a lot to visit his grandparents in Berlin. But I wouldn’t have known at that age I wouldn’t have known at all that IT was the career path for me, unless my teacher at school had pushed me to look into it.
School should be a place for learning about current, real life, as well as theory, otherwise you end up with people wishing they’d chosen a different path.