Meet develop: an organisation helping introduce young children to STEM careers through new partnership

develop team with Canon Barnett STEM partnership

develop, a London-based software engineering recruitment firm, is donating £20,000 to a Tower Hamlets primary school to fund STEM education.

develop, which operates in London, Berlin and Miami, will donate £25 to Canon Barnett Primary School in Tower Hamlets for every placement it makes in the next financial year.

Based on 2021/22 figures, this will amount to a total of over £20,000 going directly towards STEM education in the form of toys, learning platforms, and equipment.

‘develop’ is hoping to help reverse the talent shortages in the software engineering industry by providing help at grass roots level to directly impact the education and prospects of inner-city children.

A recent UK survey of nearly 10,000 primary school children shows that only 17 per cent aspired to a career in science despite the overwhelming growth of the UK’s STEM industries.

In this article, we get an insight from develop and Canon Barnett Primary School and get their views on the partnership, why it’s important and getting young children into the STEM space.

Let’s meet Amy and Agata to discuss the partnership and how it will help support young children’s STEM education. 

Meet Amy Moore, Senior Marketing Manager at develop

Amy is the Senior Marketing Manager at develop. Here, we talk to Amy about develop’s decision to partner with Canon Barnett Primary School, the aims of this partnership and how we can encourage more girls into STEM careers.

Amy Moore

develop are donating £25 per placement to a primary school in Tower Hamlets – can you tell us more about this?

develop are incredibly proud to announce our partnership with Canon Barnett Primary School. For every placement we make this financial year we’re going to donate £25 to the school to fund important STEM toys and resources for the pupils. Based on our statistics from last year, the donation should amount to more than £20,000.

What are the aims of this partnership?

We see the skills gap in tech talent every day, and we know that in order to fix the pipeline issue it starts from educating people from a young age. Through our partnership with Canon Barnett Primary School, we want to provide resources to the pupils that open up a new world of possibilities to them, allowing them to explore careers that they haven’t considered. The earlier that opportunities are presented, the bigger impact they can have.

What more can be done to help tackle the talent shortages in STEM?

Young women aren’t considering technology careers as they grow up because they don’t have the encouragement to pursue a career in tech, and they are not being exposed to what working in the sector involves. This then creates a lack of role models and leaders for children to aspire to, and the cycle continues for the next generation.

Businesses are struggling to hire for roles. There aren’t enough Engineers out there to meet the demand, and this is only worsening over time – the tech talent shortage is no longer a female-only issue, it impacts everyone.

How can we encourage more girls into STEM careers?

Providing girls with the resources and information from a young age is crucial in encouraging them to pursue a STEM career. Technical skills are transferable, and benefit people in all aspects of their life whether that’s at school, in the workplace or at home.

Introducing coding courses into the core curriculum is one way that allows children to explore a range of careers in their day-to-day schooling.

Early exposure is crucial in dismantling assumptions that tech isn’t a career for girls.

Educating children and young people to explore career opportunities in tech is needed in order to inspire the next generation of tech talent. Awareness and investment in the early part of the talent pipeline should be a priority for all organisations.

Meet Agata Glonek, Science Lead at Canon Barnett Primary School

Agata is the Science Lead at Canon Barnett Primary School. Here, we discuss with Agata how the partnership came about, how it will impact their pupils and why it’s important to support STEM education.

You’re partnering with develop to support your STEM education – how did this come about?

develop reached out to us, as we’re local to their office and they were looking for an inner-city primary to partner with so they could really benefit the STEM education of younger children. They wanted to find out about our existing STEM initiatives, what our needs were and how they could supplement that. We were really excited about what develop wanted to offer, and the impact it would have on the children.

What impact will the funding offer to your pupils?

The funding is going to give the children opportunities that they would have never been able to have themselves. As a school, we would not have been able to afford the resources needed for STEM education of this quality or exposed them to the different types of careers that they probably haven’t even heard of before.

The children will now be able to access STEM education to see that technology is everywhere and there are various paths they can follow. I think there really needs to be more awareness that there is so much more out there, and technology is such a big factor in our lives. It’s everywhere, so we need to expose children more to those kind of tech areas that they probably are going to find themselves working in because, truth to be told, that’s where we’re heading. Tech is a huge industry in the UK and constantly developing and changing so it’s really beneficial for children to hear about that at a young age.

How important is it to support STEM education on a grass-roots level?

Children don’t know what exists unless they are exposed to it. When we ask our pupils what they’d like to do when they grow up, the choices are very, very standardised and very limited. They tell us they want to be a teacher, because that’s who they see every day, or a doctor, because they are familiar with those roles.

Exposing them to the roles they are not familiar with or have not had the access to learn about is so important for them to make informed decisions about their future.

There will be jobs out there that probably haven’t been invented yet. Preparing them for that is very important and making sure that we offer them a range of choices so they can really see what different types of jobs and workplaces are there, is really crucial at primary age.

How can we encourage more girls into STEM careers?

We need to include more tech-based learning and activities in Science and Maths curriculums to ensure STEM education is more accessible for girls, and to teach them from a young age that they are capable of achieving the career they want. We should be connecting the subjects in more relevant ways that show our children the types of experiences that are available to them.

If girls don’t know what is out there, how are they going to aspire to do something?

STEM careers are for everyone and should not conform to any traditional gender stereotypes. We want all of our pupils to aspire to what they would like to do and never feel that their gender should stand in the way of that.