There are a number of reasons why an industrial partner might wish to be associated with science teaching and learning,
- Many organisations have a corporate social responsibility (CSR) policy which supports involvement in education and community related projects.
- They may wish to get exposure in the classroom as a prospective employer
- They may be concerned about future scarcity of science graduates
- They may perceive involvement in science teaching as beneficial in terms of reputation.
There are a number of ways in which an industrial partner might contribute to the development of science education. For example:
- Exercising influence on policy makers e.g. communicating with local or national representatives about the relevance of science education
- Providing of resources e.g. funding or materials
- Providing expertise e.g. classroom visits by practising scientists/technologists
- Hosting class visits and providing instructive presentations on site.
The following is a suggested approach when contemplating the engagement of an industry partner.
- Identify the specific organisation to be approached. This decision will be informed by the relevant science topics
- Review the organisation’s website for any education or recruitment references
- If the organisation has a CSR policy, review it for any references to education or recruitment of science/technology graduates
- Decide what is required from the organisation e.g. class visits etc.
- Make personal contact with the organisation and specifically enquire whether the organisation will support this requirement
- Identify the person responsible for such activities and make contact with that person
- Email any required information to the individual involved
- If possible, set up a face to face meeting. This will develop a personal relationship that will be sustainable over time.
It is useful to maintain a log of these industrial contacts for future reference. For any activity (e.g visits-out to industrial sites or visits-in by industrial personnel) a set of student learning outcomes should be developed. An assessment process should be conducted after each event to establish the extent to which these learning outcomes have been achieved.