What we do:
Futurum Careers is a free online resource and magazine aimed at encouraging 14-19-year-olds worldwide to pursue careers in science, tech, engineering, maths, medicine (STEM) and research. We work with academics all over the world and translate their research into free education resources that can be used in the classroom, at home and in STEM and SHAPE (social sciences, humanities and the arts for people and the economy) clubs.
Why we do it:
We are passionate about STEM and SHAPE education and we’re passionate about science communication. Why not combine the two?
Futurum is here because we want to help teachers deliver a high quality, broadened STEM and SHAPE education that will invigorate their students’ desire to learn. We want to help scientists and researchers communicate their work to a global audience of teenagers, young adults and teachers. We want to offer teenagers and young adults – regardless of their gender, race of background – the knowledge and confidence to study STEM and SHAPE subjects – and, in turn, social mobility.
Our ultimate aim is to help students (and teachers help students) connect the subjects they are learning with real-world careers in STEAM. In the UK, Ofsted now ranks schools according to their application of Gatsby Benchmarks. The Gatsby Benchmarks are a framework of eight guidelines that define the best careers provision in schools and colleges. When schools and teachers use our content, we can support them in meeting Gatsby Benchmarks 2, Learning from career and labour market information; 4, Linking curriculum learning to careers; 5 Encounters with employers and employees; and 7 Encounters with further and higher education. The US equivalent is the NGSS – Next Generation Science Standards.
Our mission is to enable researchers to inspire, teachers to motivate, and students to aspire.
How we work with researchers:
As the name Futurum suggests, we are always looking ahead, which is why we feel strongly about the importance of sharing knowledge and innovation, and why we ensure that research is communicated in an accessible and engaging manner, to an audience that is keen to learn.
We get to know our researchers’ work, use our expertise to craft teacher and student-friendly learning resources, and ensure our researchers are proud of the materials we share with the public on their behalf.
Increasing STEM skills is a global priority and Futurum is gratified by connecting experts from all over the world with the next generation of researchers. We ensure real impact is achieved by getting researcher’s work in front of teachers, from a source they trust and in a format they can use easily.
How we support teachers:
Every teacher wants to challenge their students and to pass on the passion for their subject that made them work in education in the first place. In the real world of heavy teaching timetables and minimal planning time, however, we know that teachers can struggle to provide learning experiences that broaden their students’ knowledge and understanding beyond the confines of exam specifications.
Our job is to provide free, stimulating and high-quality resources that enable teachers to stretch their students that little bit more, and take them beyond the classroom and into the innovative world of contemporary research.
The resources we provide for teachers foster engagement, curiosity and independent learning, while showcasing career options available to young people.
Meet the Futurum team
Director and Co-founder
Before launching Futurum Careers and its parent company, Scicomm Consulting, I set up an architectural draughting company, a transport company and an autoglass fitment company, and was a partner in an engineering business, all in South Africa. While I enjoyed building and running these businesses, they weren’t my true passion. My true passion for science communication and education came about when I emigrated from South Africa to the UK and started working for an academic publisher. Being exposed to so many inspirational research papers and projects sparked an idea, which led me to launch Futurum Careers with the help of our Editor-in-Chief extraordinaire, Karen!
My route here could have been a lot shorter with the right advice, guidance and support, but I feel very fortunate to be doing what I love: communicating science to young minds. Check out my profile on Sci-Comm Consulting: scicomsult.com
Most likely to say: “How can I help?”
Director and Co-founder
Aged 16 onwards, I worked in a supermarket, bakery, petrol station, off-license, mobile phone shop and telesales company, but, after graduating with a first-class honours degree, I became an editorial assistant at Accountancy Magazine – my first step into journalism and a springboard into the European Parliament and the Beijing Olympics Committee.
Now, I have 17 years’ communications experience, eight years of which have been dedicated to science communication. I also taught French and English to secondary school and university students, here in the UK and in China.
I’m passionate about education, science communication, and good, sound careers advice. Check out my profile on Sci-Comm Consulting: scicomsult.com
Most likely to say (to my children): “Wow, that’s really cool! What is it?!”
I have worked as a secondary school English teacher (and, for several years, Head of Department) for 18 years, in the UK, with a three-year stint in an international school in Thailand thrown in. I have taught media, and drama and dance, as well as English language and literature, to 11 to 18-year-olds of myriad ‘abilities’, personalities and backgrounds -– though the less said about dance the better!
This quick overview probably suggests that I don’t naturally have a head for ‘STEM thinking’ and, in a way, that’s right.
However, as I used to tell my students, it’s not always the plot or the content itself that is the most interesting thing – it’s often the ‘bigger picture’, beyond the world of the text, that matters. What does a novel tell us about our world and how humans live their lives or, indeed, how they could live their lives? It is the exploration, analysis and evaluation that counts.
So, with a love of analysis and a passion for helping young people to aspire, whatever their backgrounds and preconceptions, my role at Futurum is to help researchers communicate the fascinating narrative of their research to the next generation. But no, no dancing…
Most likely to say: “Who would like a cup of tea?”
I’ve always been passionate about science, and science policy that can make it a positive force for environmental and human wellbeing.
It has been an eclectic career that includes many years in publishing, from motorcycle magazines to recycling titles, project managing small scale renewable energy systems, teaching circus skills and many things in between. Along the way, I’ve gained a BScs in Psychology, a First in Environmental Science and an MSc in Energy and Climate Change.
The joy, and perhaps the curse, of the environmental scientist is that we are natural interdisciplinary thinkers. I get excited and fascinated by just about every area of science. That makes my job as a project manager for Futurum feel like a real privilege, working with researchers in all kinds of topics all over the world.
I’m keen on growing as much of my own food as I can, and my partner and I share our garden with several cats, and families of foxes and badgers. I am all for a symbiotic relationship with our local wildlife!
Most likely to say: “These electric bikes are brilliant!”
I joined the Futurum team after finishing my PhD in volcanology. Investigating a remote Chilean volcano meant plenty of fieldwork adventures – wild camping on the flanks of the volcano, braving scorching sun and violent storms, trying to lug all my rock samples halfway around the world… Not made any easier by the fact that the volcano was only accessible by horseback and I’m not the biggest fan of horses!
I was also lucky enough to do an internship with Guatemala’s national volcano monitoring agency, where I joined the team on a trip to Volcán de Pacaya. Standing at the summit as clots of glowing red lava were thrown out over our heads was an incredible, if somewhat nerve-wracking, experience!
I became involved in science outreach and communication while at university. I taught lessons about volcanoes in primary schools, I ran geology stalls at science fairs, and I led public walks around the extinct volcano in the centre of Edinburgh. I love enthusing people about science and exciting them about the wonders of the world around us.
When not climbing volcanoes, you can probably find me orienteering, reading, knitting or quilting.