A WOMAN dedicated to science, technology, engineering and mathematics education joined sports and film stars on the New Year’s Honours List for 2022.

Yvonne Baker, the chief executive officer of York-based STEM Learning, has been awarded the OBE for services to STEM education.

  • She joins York's libraries boss Fiona Williams and former York headteacher Brian Crosby in the Queen's latest honours

Yvonne, 56, was appointed chief executive of the non-profit organisation in October 2010, leading its mission to make a world-leading STEM education available to all young people across the UK.

Since then, Yvonne has created a true 'home of all things STEM' for teachers and others who support young people.

STEM Learning is the largest UK provider of STEM education and careers support to schools, colleges and groups working with young people.

Yvonne has been unwavering in her drive to bring together disparate STEM organisations, believing that 'great STEM education has economic, social, cultural and ethical value, with positive impacts on social mobility, diversity and inclusion'.

She said: “Even in normal times, teachers have one of the most difficult and important jobs in the world, and that has been especially true over the last two years. The teachers we support are some of the most dedicated people in the profession.”

Over the next five years Yvonne will be focussed on supporting young people living in disadvantaged communities in the UK.

Yvonne’s driving force is a deep belief that STEM education provides young people with choice in terms of what they want to do with their lives.

Alongside her role at STEM Learning, Yvonne is chair of governors at Heworth Grange School,in Gateshead, a trustee of The 5% Club – an employer-led organisation promoting apprenticeships and other earn-and-learn routes – and a member of the Royal Society Education Committee.

She was until recently co-chair of The Institution of Engineering & Technology’s Education and Skills Panel.

Yvonne, a chartered chemical engineer, said: “This award isn’t something I would ever have sought or expected but I’m delighted to accept it on behalf of STEM Learning.

“I am privileged to work with people who share a genuine belief in and commitment to STEM education as something that can really change young people’s lives. I owe huge gratitude to the members of the STEM Learning and Enthuse Charitable Trust boards.”

She added: “I was lucky enough to have parents, teachers, university lecturers, friends and others who supported me throughout my early years right up to university and beyond, and continue to do so.

"That support has been the absolute bedrock of my life but I realise that not every young person is so lucky. I also know that we, as a country and globally, need young people to be able and motivated to contribute to the economy and society so we can continue to function and address the opportunities as well as challenges facing us.”