Tue. Jul 5th, 2022

Young people across London are turning to social media videos to learn more about their dream job, according to a new survey.

London parents may be forgiven for limiting access and discouraging their children from spending too much time behind screens on sites like TikTok and YouTube, however according to a new survey ahead of The Big Bang Fair at the NEC in Birmingham, 46% of 11 to 16 year olds say they watch YouTube videos to learn about their future dream jobs compared to those who read books (34%) or attend after-school classes or clubs (28%).

Science and mathematics were voted favorite subjects by both boys and girls in the survey. And with over three quarters (36%) of those surveyed wanting to learn more about the world of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), there’s plenty of ways for them to discover more in the real world, as well as on their laptops.

Dr Hilary Leevers, Chief Executive of EngineeringUK, organizers of The Big Bang Fair, which aims to inspire young people to learn more about the world of STEM, says parents should embrace the new ways of learning while seeking out in real life experiences.

She said: “It’s really encouraging that young people are embracing STEM at an early age. We need more young people from all backgrounds to understand the role that STEM careers play and for more of them to go on to work in science, engineering and technology. Social media is a great tool and has been particularly useful during the pandemic to help young people gain an understanding of STEM. The Big Bang Fair this year comprised of a live event at the NEC and a digital option, both designed to provide young people with the chance to experience the amazing opportunities a career in STEM can offer and learn more from people already working in science, engineering and tech. ”

With 11 to16 year olds being more inspired by people like Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert and Sir David Attenborough over well-known influencers like Molly Mae, it’s no wonder children are looking into the world of STEM for a career, with 1 in 3 (36% ) 11 to16 year olds across London saying a career in STEM allows them to make a positive change in the world. This complements previous research undertaken by EngineeringUK, which demonstrates that young people who attend a careers event with an employer, either online or in person (for example, a tour of a workplace or a careers fair) are around twice as likely to know about what engineers and scientists can do in their jobs and also almost three times as likely to be interested in a career in engineering.

Dr Leevers adds: “The opportunities within STEM are endless, with some better known than others. In our survey less than a quarter of young people realized that developing TikTok is an example of a career that needs STEM skills. It’s an example most young people are familiar with and being able to show the huge variety of possibilities will hopefully encourage more young people to study and eventually work in STEM. ”

When it came to considering careers, those surveyed, felt studying STEM subjects laid a strong foundation in helping to make a difference and saving the planet, with 42% of children appreciating that a career in Climate Engineering would require a base in STEM.

The Big Bang Fair is aimed at 11- to 14-year-olds and the 3-day event (Wednesday 22 June to Friday 24 June) is the largest celebration of STEM in the UK. The free to attend event will feature scores of quality hands-on activities to inspire young people to discover and explore what a career in STEM can offer.

For more information about The Big Bang Competition and The Big Bang Fair visit here: www.thebigbang.org.uk

The top STEM developments recognized by young people:
Vaccines
Mobile phones
Artificial Intelligence
Prosthetic limbs
Virtual Reality

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