Dear IEEE UK & Ireland Section Members

The STEM Ambassadors Programme is a 30,000-strong network of volunteers, all with a passion for Science, Technology, Engineering and/or Maths (the STEM subjects). The network operates across the UK, and is coordinated by STEMNET. STEM Ambassadors inspire young people to continue studying STEM subjects, and help them to explore the applications of their studies in the wider world. They broaden career horizons, raise aspirations, and build understanding of the role that these subjects play in everyone’s lives.

As part of their commitment to educational engagement – recently formalised in their pledge to the Government’s Your Life campaign – STEMNET is encouraging IEEE members to join the STEM Ambassadors Programme. As a STEM Ambassador, you must take part in a minimum of one activity each year, which could be a half-hour Skype chat, a classroom visit, or even a professional development session for teachers. You are asked to make an initial commitment of three years – so at least three activities – though you are welcome to renew that commitment when the time comes.

STEM Ambassadors carry out over 25,000 activities each year, working with more than 90% of state-funded secondary schools (and large numbers of primaries as well). Activities could be classroom workshops or talks, supporting an out-of-hours club (regularly or as a one-off), helping out at large events and careers fairs, or even work with a non-schools audience such as Guides or Scouts. As long as it benefits young people between 5 and 19, is STEM-related, and the STEM Ambassador isn’t acting in loco parentis, it could count! You can watch some STEM Ambassadors in action.

As well as the benefits for students and teachers, being a STEM Ambassador can also benefit you. As well as being an enjoyable thing to do, volunteering with young people can build your presentation skills and help you see your work from a different perspective. Depending on the way you engage with schools, it can also strengthen project management, strategic thinking and leadership skills.

To become a STEM Ambassador, register online and select the area of the UK where you will do most of your volunteering. Your local STEMNET contact will then email you about the next steps: a two-hour induction session, and an enhanced DBS disclosure. The registration process usually takes around one month, depending on your availability for induction.

I encourage all you IEEE members in the UK & Ireland to consider volunteering for a STEM role under the banner of IEEE. As a STEM Ambassador myself, I consider this to be an excellent way to make a positive contribution to the society and an integral aspect of our socially responsible strategy in the UK and Ireland Section

Prof A G Hessami
IEEE UK & Ireland Section Chair