Careers in STEM

The aim of this page is to make learners aware of the huge range of opportunities available in STEM careers across Scotland and further afield...

What is STEM ? 

At its most basic, STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. But STEM education is far more than just sticking those subject titles together. It’s a philosophy of education that embraces teaching skills and subjects in an a way that resembles real life. 

STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects give all young people important skills for their future lives and work. Employers are looking for young people with these skills, but there’s a big shortage (skills gap). The skills which come from doing STEM subjects are used in many different jobs from cooking to commerce; finance to farming; apps/game development to animal welfare; and brewing to building. Some jobs might be STEM-specific, for example developing new food and drink products or calculating the likelihood of rain tomorrow. Others might be in a STEM-type workplace, for example a librarian in a medical school or a lawyer in an energy company. Whether or not young people end up working in a STEM job or workplace, they need the skills which STEM subjects give them. 

Why are STEM skills important ? 

As stated previously, the skills that are developed within STEM education apply to a wide range of career sectors. The video below shows some examples of innovation in STEM and the path these may take you on in the future...

Careers in STEM

STEM Education provides the foundation to a vast range of careers, in a huge variety of fields. Before making subject choices, it is really important to understand what your options are for the future, especially in areas you may not have considered otherwise...

Click on the link below to view example career paths that STEM skills could lead you to, from the traditional Engineering and Medicine to Food, Fashion and Finance...

Skills Development Scotland (SDS) is Scotland’s national skills body. They contribute to Scotland’s sustainable economic growth by supporting people and businesses to develop and apply their skills. They have a huge range of resources which are really useful when making decisions about your future pathways. Click the link below for further information...

Career Profiles within Courses

All Career Profiles (47 so far) within the courses covered by this website are listed below, with links to the specific topic area:-

For further online information and support regarding careers, please visit the "My World of Work" Website:-


An apprenticeship is a real job where you learn, gain experience and get paid.

You will be an employee with a contract of employment and holiday leave. By the end of an apprenticeship, you'll have the right skills and knowledge needed for your chosen career.

It can take between one and six years to complete an apprenticeship depending on which one you choose, what level it is and your previous experience.  

The Foundation Apprenticeships can even be started as college placements in S4 or above.

There are three main types of apprenticeships in Scotland, click the links below for further information :

For more information on the full range of Apprenticeships on offer in Scotland, please click the link below...

Examples of STEM Related Institutions and Businesses  

Imaging Centre of Excellence - Glasgow 

The Imaging Centre of Excellence is located at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow. It employs a vast array of people and is home to the UK's first ultra-high field 7 Tesla MRI scanner, located in a clinical environment. This site is world leading in its clinical expertise in stroke, cardiovascular disease and brain imaging, aligning NHS clinicians with academic and industrial researchers. 

Precision Medicine Scotland

Precision medicine is one of the big themes in the future of health care, with the ability to improve diagnostics and patient treatment. A report focusing on the strengths of Precision Medicine in Scotland states that "Scotland is extremely well positioned to unlock the exciting and substantial productivity growth opportunities associated with Precision Medicine". 

The Royal Observatory Edinburgh

The Royal Observatory, Edinburgh is an astronomical institution located on Blackford Hill in Edinburgh. The observatory carries out astronomical research and university teaching; design, project management, and construction of instruments and telescopes for astronomical observatories; and teacher training in astronomy and outreach to the public.

B.A.E. Systems

With sites in Glasgow and Edinburgh, BAE Systems is a British multinational defence, security, and aerospace company. They develop advanced defence technology projects to protect people and national security, and keep critical information and infrastructure secure.  With a skilled workforce of 85,800 people in more than 40 countries, they have a wide range of careers in multiple disciplines, all around the world. 

Construction Scotland Innovation Centre

The CSIC links together businesses, university experts and public sector providers to support businesses to deliver transformational change in construction. The CSIC also hosts a 3000sqm prototyping, research & development facility with open access to the construction industry and funded support to the very best of Scotland’s built environment academics. This facility is a significant opportunity for Scottish architect’s & designers to help shape the future of construction.


Grangemouth, which lies on the Firth of Forth, is one of the largest manufacturing sites in the UK. It is homes to INEOS and Petroineos. Petroineos is Scotland's only crude oil refinery and produces the bulk of fuels used in Scotland. The products from this site are used to produce bottles and pipes, cabling and insulation, food package and used within the pharmaceutical industry. 

The Midlothian Science Zone

The Midlothian Science Zone is a centre of science and research excellence, located to the South of Edinburgh. The centre has a wealth of expertise focused on animal science and has "global recognition as the birthplace of Dolly the Sheep". The Roslin Institute, together with the Moredun Research Institute and other partners, work together to make progress in animal health, life sciences and agri-technology.

Space Hub Sutherland + Shetland Space Centre

At the forefront of the UK Space Industry,  Space Hub Sutherland and Shetland Space Centre will both host vertical rocket launch sites to put small communications satellites into Earth orbit.

The sites are both currently in the planning stages but will include launch pads, control centres and associated infrastructure for the transport and preparation of launch vehicles for near Earth Orbit.

Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre

The Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre based at the University of Stirling connects industry with academia to encourage collaboration on priority issues, share insights and knowledge gleaned with the wider Aquaculture sector, and attract additional UK and EU funding into Scottish aquaculture to encourage new generations into Aquaculture. 

European Marine Science Park

Businesses, research scientists and industry work closely together in an amazing location near Oban in Argyll. Some of the companies located here include: SAMS Research Services Ltd - provide specialist marine consultancy and survey services. Glycomar - discover and develop novel therapeutic molecules from the marine environment. Xanthella Ltd - develop technology aimed at the growing algae research and development market. Lallemand Aquapharm - screen and select marine microorganisms to identify new bacterial strains.

MindMate Alzheimer's App  

Caring for people with memory loss illnesses like Alzheimer’s or Dementia can be an incredibly difficult thing to deal with. Having had first-hand experience with family members suffering from Alzheimer's, the Scottish team behind the MindMate app developed it to help people with early-stage memory loss. The app includes list-making applications, interactive games to sharpen memory and reactions, a ‘My Story’ timeline tool and customisable reminders

Attis Fitness

Developed at Stirling University’s Innovation Park, Attis Fintess specialises in producing wearable motion capture clothing. Where regular activity trackers can monitor heart rate and GPS, Attis take it to a whole other level. They monitor everything from stride length, cadence, bounce, pelvic rotation/drop, meaning anyone can achieve optimal performance. With an easy set-up that’s designed to work in all conditions Attis bridge the gap between elite athletes and everyone else.


Imagine a world where you could take all that nasty waste from shellfish and turn it into something that’s useful - well, Cuantec are making this happen. This innovative team are simultaneously opening up the potential of the sea and helping eradicate the more than 8.8 million tonnes of plastic that end up in our oceans each year. Their revolutionary process transforms the waste from the fisheries industry into a flexible anti-microbial and compostable type of food packaging that will actually extend the shelf life of fresh food.

Touch Bionics

Livingston-based Touch Bionics in 2007 launched its revolutionary i-limb, the first powered prosthetic hand to incorporate articulating fingers.Over the past decade, the company has continued to deliver a series of world-leading advances, from individual prosthetic fingers through to upper limbs that can change their grips using just a simple gesture.

The Scottish Bee Company

The Scottish Bee Company was founded by Iain and Suzie Millar in 2017. They felt strongly about the UK’s declining bee population and decided to do something to help. Their passion and determination prompted them to adopt some bees, hire a team of expert bee farmers and brought them together in the heather covered hills of Scotland to produce uniquely flavorful honeys that evoke a sense of Scotland’s unspoiled wilderness.

Further Information on Careers

Please click the link below to access further information on your future pathways through the My World of Work website.