Calderglen High School is a non-denominational secondary school located in East Kilbride and is an SCQF School Ambassador, currently working towards Silver Ambassador status. We pride ourselves on offering a wide and varied curriculum, allowing our young people to develop skills for life, learning and work. We identified a need to provide more leadership opportunities for our students, especially within the STEM subjects, which led to the implementation of the Young Stem Leader (YSL) programme for our S6 Students. This has proven to be a great success after our first year and we hope to build on this going forward.
We introduced the YSL programme because it was a fantastic opportunity to help young people to develop both their leadership and employability skills, whilst also inspiring younger learners to develop an interest in STEM. The award is recognised on the SCQF, and provides evidence of young people's achievement within STEM.
There are six levels of the YSL programme available to run within a delivering centre. The level which you choose to deliver can be altered depending upon the young people's ages and experience. The award can be integrated within other STEM projects, for example within the school we had a group of S2 students take part in the Bronze Level Industrial Cadets Award, and through their work, they gained a YSL qualification at SCQF level 4 with 3 SCQF credit points.
The YSL programme provides young people with fantastic opportunities to grow and develop their own transferable skill set, which they can use as they move into life after school. This is a unique qualification, it stands out on their CV and is a great discussion point during interviews for jobs, college or even university. As part of the programme the YSLs must plan, lead and deliver a range of STEM events both within the school and the wider learning communities, allowing them to develop a number of varied skills. Last year our YSL organised and delivered sessions to our S1 Science club which proved incredibly popular. This year we hope to build on this and deliver sessions to our feeder primary schools, adding to our already diverse P7 transition programme. Participation in the YSL award also allows learners to develop their understanding of the challenges associated with STEM industries and consider how the events they run can overcome and challenge the stereotypes often faced within STEM careers.
As previously mentioned the YSL Programme encourages young people to develop their transferable skills which they can utilise as they move from school into their future career paths. The skills which we have observed our learners develop include: leadership, confidence, communication, creativity and problem solving to name but a few. These skills evolve as participants engage in the programme and as they use them in a range of different settings. Overall we have seen the YSL programme have a very positive impact on all learners involved.
If you are thinking of running the YSL programme in your centre, first you must identify Tutor Assessors who will receive training from the YSL team. Throughout the implementation of the YSL programme, tutor assessors are well supported by both the YSL and SSERC teams. Any queries we have had about the programme have always been responded to quickly and everyone has been extremely helpful. Last year Calderglen High School was selected for external verification, this process was both smooth and easy thanks to the Young STEM Leader and SSERC teams. Post verification they provided valuable feedback which we have been able to reflect upon to improve the delivery of the programme for this year's cohort of YSLs. As a tutor assessor there is a range of CPD opportunities available where you can meet other colleagues who deliver the programme and share good practice, positively impacting on the delivery of the programme. This is also a great opportunity for staff who are looking to develop their own leadership and whole school involvement. YSL frequently communicates to the network of tutor assessors via the Microsoft Teams page - this includes resources, grants and training opportunities.
‘Something unique on my personal statement.’ Ruth McLean
‘Promote and encourage young people to get involved in STEM.’ Megan Seymour
‘Opportunity to be creative and develop my leadership skills.’ Erin Forbes
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