#STEMhelden ('STEM heroes') is a media campaign consisting of short films for 10-14 year olds, their parents and their teachers. The videos show that different STEM-profiles in companies solving a problem that effect the society, with a lot of attention for gender-sensitive language and images.
The objective of the initiative is to encourage more young people, and specifically girls, to enroll in STEM education and STEM oriented VET. Flanders, like so many countries, suffers from a shortage of STEM-profiles. The shortage of girls in STEM-jobs in particular is certainly remarkable. The shortage of girls is very clearly visible in more practically-oriented STEM-education in secondary schools (15-18 years of age). In Flanders, young people aged 15 and over can choose a study program. That is why it is important to provide them with an inspiring picture of what a job as a #STEMhero could look like before the age of 15.
During the Corona crisis, the health and care-professions were rightly praised, but it was less visible that the STEM professionals ensured that the country kept going. Think for example about the supply of electricity, the availability of the internet, etc. These are stories that the #STEM heroes series tries to tell.
The concept is always the same: a theoretically trained STEM professional and a practically trained STEM professional show how, together, they ensure that their company can solve a socially relevant problem. Examples include recycled plastic, safer and more environmental friendly cars, safety of money in the bank, easy access to job vacancies on the labour market,...
In Flanders, there are many STEM-initiatives, mostly independent of each other. The project of the STEM heroes links all the initiatives through a HUB operation. STEM is already embedded in their own regular functioning and the #STEMheroes helps strengthening the reach and impact of existing initiatives. The project is currently being organized by the Flemish STEM-platform and Technopolis.