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Setting up a role model network

Your role models are your most valuable resource when it comes to engaging with young people and helping identify themselves in STEM careers. Use networks to increase the numbers and diversity of these role models and include your apprentices in these networks so that they can gain the skills and confidence to become role models themselves.

Students are 90% more likely to be interest in continuing to study STEM subjects after engaging with STEM Ambassadors - The National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER), Independent Evaluation 2013.

  • Determine if there is a need for a network, whom it would support, and what the potential outcomes are.
  • Identify a champion to lead the network and offer support to carry out this role.

This could be a voluntary role with acknowledgement of its importance, or it may be a formal role.

The aims and outcomes can be determined by the members once the network is up and running.

The network could:

  • provide support for its members (mentoring, training, feedback, speakers, social activities etc.),
  • carry out outreach activities for the organisation,
  • or more likely be a combination of both of these
The network could be formal or informal and defining its aims will support recruitment of members.
  • Participation in the network should be voluntary and it should be made easily accessible (location, timing etc.).
  • Timings can be critical to this – breakfast meetings and evening events can often exclude parents, particularly mothers. Events outside the workplace may be difficult, or not appropriate, for some groups.
  • Marketing to all employees, and acknowledging support for participants is important.
Do remember that not everyone will wish to join in, some women may not wish to identify themselves as part of a women’s group. Do ensure a range of ways to participate – attendance, newsletter, joining in with some standalone activities.

The network will require some resources to ensure that it can run, not least time out of their job to allow people to attend if it is held within work hours. You could provide a room, some refreshments, and a small budget for activities/speakers etc.

Confirm the importance of the network and its members by taking note of, and acting upon, any feedback from the group. This is an excellent way to gauge how supportive you are as an employer for these groups.

Next Checklist: Develop a sustained strategy of engagement

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