3M - supporting STEM

Education Award
Big Tick 2011

As a technology company, 3M understands the importance of STEM subjects – people with STEM qualifications form a large part of their employee base. However, the Government and industry alike recognise that too few pupils are staying with these subjects beyond GCSE. 3M therefore aims to help increase this talent pool – its target employees of the future - by working with educational specialists in order to provide teaching resources that help make these subjects inspiring and to maintain a relationship with students throughout their learning years.

"When the pupils later wrote about their career aspirations, the desire to be engineers appeared for the first time that the school could recall. Some girls were heard to say they had not realised that girls could be engineers."

- Lady Tunnicliffe,
of the Institute of Education, following a school visit to 3M

The Story

3M’s programme of work began in 2006 and has developed over time to work with young people from 7-16. The 3M community programme in the UK encompasses donations of in-kind gifts of 3M products and services; the use of 3M facilities; employee volunteering – with an emphasis on STEM Ambassadors; matched funding and creating free online teaching resources that can be used by schools nationwide. These online resources include:

3M Streetwise3M Streetwise - (aimed at 7-11) to help schools teach road safety through scientific principles.

3M Worldlywise  3M Worldlywise - (aimed at 11-16) to help young people learn about sustainability and the environment as part of maths, science and geography.

This project has not only provided free online resources that have been used by hundreds of thousands of visitors it has also enabled 3M to partner with schools and start work on a programme of research that will aim to show the impact of its activities on pupils’ attitudes to STEM subjects and careers – information that the company plans to share with wider industry.


Business Impact

  • In 2010 3M’s community activities attracted 83 articles in local and regional media nationwide. These publications had a combined readership of 1,967,572 and the coverage achieved had an Advertising Equivalent Value of £122,711
  • The Innovative Leaders and Future Leader Development Programmes saw 51 employees work together to deliver STEM-related lessons to a local school, helping them develop communication, organisational and team-working skills

Social Impact

  • In 2010 23 work placement opportunities were given to pupils across three 3M sites
  • Since 2006 3M Streetwise has attracted 357,000 visits, 2 million page views, 19,700 teacher registrations and 131,000 worksheet downloads
  • 3M has requested STEMNET contract holders nationwide to promote the use of its 3M Worldlywise resource, which contains material specifically designed for use with STEM Ambassadors, to all the companies they work with