Industry engagement can add real value through authenticity to school-based STEM projects. It is important to be prepared with an engagement plan prior to approaching any industry partners:
- Ensure clarity of understanding of STEM. You may need to provide an overview of what STEM education is. Break down acronyms and educational jargon.
- Provide a brief elevator pitch for your STEM initiatives. Outline what your students will be doing and the educational goals for the project. Include the linkages between the industry and your initiatives. Present this as a flyer that can be left with industry representatives.
- Be clear about what you are asking them to do. Outline the role that they will play in your STEM initiatives and their time commitments.
- Do not ask for money or resources. This can put many off and undermine the educational purpose of your relationship.
- Promote the benefits of the relationship. These may include the opportunity to inspire potential future employees and receive public recognition of their support of your school.
- Start small. Invite potential participants to visit the school, meet informally with a class and with staff to gain a better understanding of what is happening in the school.
- Avoid cancellations at all costs. When Industry participants commit to supporting student learning, it costs them in time away from doing business.