Inspiring the scientist of tomorrow
May 03 2022
The scientific industry faces a major challenge in attracting young talent to explore the career opportunities it offers. Despite the exposure given by the media during the Covid-19 pandemic and emphasis on its importance, work in the laboratory remains an unfamiliar subject to the young people.
We have just celebrated World Laboratory Day on the 23rd of April. Which to many, was a special celebration reminding them why they have chosen science as a career path.
To mark World Laboratory Day on April 23, Hamburg-based lab products manufacturer Starlab International, which has a bases in the UK, France and Italy, carried out a survey of young people. This survey, which quizzed 2,000 young people aged 16 to 19 across Europe, aimed to better understand the perception of career opportunities in science.
Results show, that while many young people believe that lab jobs are ‘meaningful, secure and relevant’, the constant stream of coronavirus-related headlines over the past two years has had virtually no effect on influencing more pupils and school-leavers to consider a lab-based or scientific career.
The survey findings show that despite 65 per cent of respondents saying that the pandemic has made them aware of the importance of laboratory jobs, 28 per cent still have no idea about the profession, with perceptions of working in a laboratory limited to medical and/or technical lab assistant roles.
The survey also found that while STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) subjects were the topics pupils are most interested in (32 per cent), this interest fails to translate into concrete careers in the life sciences.
Limited awareness about scientific career opportunities seems to drop a shadow on the scientific industry resulting in fewer young people pursuing it as a career path.
The 2,000 respondents gave a positive evaluation of the image of science and laboratory professions however, they have also highlighted that career in science has a limited exposure when compared to other professions. Furthermore, many of them with an aptitude for the sciences and the grades to match are instead looking for jobs at management consultancies, IT developers or in the automotive industry. In other words, BMW rather than biotech.
One reason for the lack of young talent coming through seems to be that most people have only a stereotypical idea of what working in a lab entails. The first thing that comes into most people’s heads when they consider lab work is analysing blood and urine at a doctor’s surgery however, this is only the start of the long list.
Exposure to opportunities, inspiration and influence of social media and teachers while at school, seems to be only one of a few ways young people can get passionate about science. However, this can be their first step to helping build the future of scientific communities across Europe.
We all need inspiration, especially at such an important time in life as stepping into adulthood. A parent, a teacher or a favourite social media influencer can ignite a passion for science and encourage us to pursue a career in the laboratory . After all, science offers many opportunities and it's important to be curious and open to learning more about these possibilities
The Colours of Science campaign highlights the stories of four science heroes, who set examples for the future generations and prove that science is so much more than sterile rooms and white coats, it is cool and colourful and exciting.
Starlab has once again used an exciting and colourful approach to highlight this important topic. This year's painting to celebrate world laboratory day was again created by the Hamburg based street artist Moritz Etorena (@arimatribe). It is an interpretation of the idea of "inspiring youth for science" and shows the door to a world of inspiration opening to our heroes.
Click here to discover more about the Colours of Science and hear all of the inspiring stories behind the campaign.
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