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Does more need to be done to get people studying STEM subjects?

We love it when we hear about the government investing in education for obvious reasons.

Jade O'Donoghue
12th February 2016
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However last year when David Willetts, the Science Minister, announced they’d be creating over 7,800 opportunities for potential students interested in studying STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), we were really excited. Many of the jobs in these subject areas people don’t even know exist since, well, they didn’t 20 years ago, so surely a renewed effort in promoting them would lead thousands to careers they had never before considered?


But the sector has spoken...

Unfortunately it seems not. According to people actually working in STEM sectors, the government aren’t doing enough to encourage people into these professions and promote studying these subjects. While they promised an extra 1,360 apprenticeships, 240 traineeships, 5,900 workforce development opportunities, and a cross-sector proposal to attract young people into STEM jobs, over two years, 75% of IT professional think the government haven’t done enough.

When we asked Bradley Maule-ffinch director of strategy at IP EXPO Europe, one of the biggest IT events in Europe, who commissioned this research, he told us he thought it was disappointing, ‘These jobs are high in demand and vital in boosting the UK economy so the Government must do more to boost recruitment into these professions.’


What we think

While we agree, it’s disappointing the original promises haven’t quite lived up to expectations, we don’t think it’s entirely up to the government and that the sector itself could do more to entice people – with different employers making more of an effort to advertise jobs in a way that is compelling for young people, inspiring them to explore their options in this flourishing area of work.

We do also think that sites like ours can play a part though, to demystify the jobs in this sector.  We think that many STEM jobs can end up being ones people just fall into, realising after training that this is where their skills can take them, but there’s no reason why they can’t be careers people actually aim for. Careers people specifically train for with more of an idea of where studying STEM subjects will take them.


The future is STEM

Going forward you'll see more career profiles appearing on Training and Courses where we will explain exactly what roles in sectors like these entail. To start though, here are a few STEM courses you could take and ideas of where they could lead you...

The Advanced Apprenticeship in Aircraft Maintenance at Farnborough College – do this apprenticeship and you could end up working on the runway, fixing planes and ensuring they're safe for flight.

A short course in alternative energy at Hi-Tech Training – training online and gain a basic knowledge of alternative energy. Before long you could find yourself coming up with ways to save the planet and ensure our resources are not depleted.

Level 3 Diploma in Economics at Oxford Learning College  – another online course that could pave your way for a career in STEM secotrs, here you’ll learn how to understand the world of finance, economic growth and international trade. This in turn could open doors in stock broking, trading and banking.

Apprenticeship laboratory technician – Level 3 at Kirklees College – training in scientific work that could see you working in a range of different settings; from pharmaceutical work to biotechnology, carrying out testing and supporting scientists.

Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) Foundation Programme Level 1 Gateway Qualification at Barking and Dagenham College – if you think you'd like to work in this sector but not sure specifically what you'd like to do, this qualification will give you a beginner level knowledge enabling you to make an informed decision on completion.

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