Rangatahi can't be what they can't see

Posted on 05 June 2024

If your child came home from school saying they wanted a career in STEM, would you know what they were talking about?

Would you encourage them? Or would you tell them to go study to be a doctor, software developer, engineer or accountant? 

If it was the latter, then you are close to understanding what STEM is!

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. There are few professions that do not require these skills and no aspect of life that is not impacted by them. 

Understanding what STEM means is crucial for parents because it enables them to support and guide their children toward future career opportunities in high-demand fields. With this knowledge, parents can assist with schoolwork and encourage learning in critical subjects. Additionally, parents can nurture their children's interests from an early age and advocate for quality STEM education in schools and communities.

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Being aware of the importance of STEM helps prepare children for a technology-driven future, ensuring they have the skills needed for tomorrow's job market.

Teachers and career advisors talk to our children about STEM careers and encourage them to continue studying math, sciences and digital technologies for a reason. If our teenagers drop these subjects in high school, pursuing careers in high-paying professions becomes so much harder. We see intelligent, capable young people missing out on tertiary study or having to complete a foundation course because they dropped math or science at high school. 

Of course, there are many pathways into STEM careers, not all of which involve tertiary study, but foundational to all is an ability to ask questions and think critically and creatively. STEM education in school supports students to develop these skills.

Whether we like it or not, children often follow our in footsteps. For most reading this, you will be employed in a STEM-related industry, but you may not realise it as STEM was not a term used when you were deciding on a job/career/profession. Showing our children the relevance of STEM subjects and the opportunities that await them is more important than ever.

By 2030 as much as 30% of the workforce could be automated. STEM helps prepare children for a technology-driven future, ensuring they have the skills needed for tomorrow's job market.

To learn more about the evolution of STEM in schools, read our in-depth feature on the STEM Alliance Aotearoa website: 

The Power of Language - How different STEM acronyms can shape our thinking

STEM Alliance Aotearoa is hosted by Te Hononga Akoranga COMET. We have a vision of a diverse, STEM-literate Aotearoa New Zealand. We believe that early exposure is key when engaging tamariki and rangatahi in STEM subjects. 

STEM Alliance connects teachers to STEM outreach programmes and industry, creating opportunities to enhance the STEM curriculum and provide engaging learning opportunities for tauira.

To learn more, visit

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