BRINGING PRODUCT DESIGN TO A DIVERSE YOUNG PUBLIC
Editor: Erik Bohemia, Ahmed Kovacevic, Lyndon Buck, Peter Childs, Stephen Green, Ashley Hall, Aran Dasan
Author: Humphries-Smith, Tania Maxine; Abate, Gino
Institution: Bournemouth University, United Kingdom
Section: Design and Engineering Education for the General Public
This paper reports on an evaluation of an outreach provision in STEM education, specifically Product Design, run by Bournemouth University, being offered to around 18 schools in its local area, in the South of the UK. The paper cites a number of studies indicating that outreach provision is very diverse globally, as well as in the UK, often erratically funded and rarely properly evaluated. The outreach provision evaluated here has the advantage of having maintained longitudinal data over its 5 year life to date. The paper reports on the evaluation of qualitative feedback received from school teachers and quantitative data collected on numbers of pupils who attended the workshops who chose a design related subject for their General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) level study which is typically commenced in school year 9, age 12/13 years. While it is acknowledged the data is not perfect for considering impact solely on those from lower socio-economic backgrounds the provision was also aimed more generally at increasing numbers of young people taking up STEM related further and higher education. The conclusions reached from the evaluation demonstrate the importance of outreach activities in improving education for the public, and thus, to increasing diversity in the product and design engineering professions, which in turn may provide a partial answer to the recognized skills shortages.