The UK has been experiencing a major resurgence in manufacturing, and this growing sector is offering young people a wealth of career opportunities. If you are a young person looking for a career that is interesting, challenging and exciting, then it’s definitely worth looking at STEM careers. However, it is not just young people who need to be more aware of the opportunities available in STEM companies; businesses, the government, educators and recruiters all need to work together to promote STEM careers.
The UK STEM skills shortage
The massive shortage of skilled STEM professionals is a growing issue for companies. It is vital that businesses are more involved and engaged with young people than ever before. They are crucial in helping to inspire the next generation of STEM professionals and addressing the UK STEM skills shortage. The acronym STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. These key areas should be a priority for parents, students, teachers and businesses as the UK’s growing industries look for new talent.
A growing industry
There has been a considerable level of investment in the UK’s advanced manufacturing industry, and new technologies like laser cutting, 3D printing and advanced materials are creating thousands of jobs. There is a real shortage of skills in these industries, and with a job market that is still tough to break into, STEM companies offer a wealth of roles that other industries can’t currently provide for young people. <a href=”https://www.stem.org.uk/news-and-views/news/skills-shortage-costing-stem-sector-15bn”>Recent research by STEM Learning</a> found that the skills shortage in the UK costs the STEM sector around £1.5 billion a year. STEM roles are expected to double over the next 10 years, so for young people starting out in their career, this is a great time to get involved.
Recruiting STEM professionals
For employers, finding the right candidate is becoming harder, and there are many ways that companies can encourage young people to consider a career in manufacturing. The current skills shortage means that 89% of STEM businesses have found it hard to recruit suitably qualified staff, with an average of 10 unfilled roles per business. There is so much more that STEM companies can do to engage with and inspire young people. The excellent job prospects available are one of the most significant factors for young people looking for a career path, and educating them about the opportunities available in manufacturing is vital. Being involved in STEM days, special events, after-school clubs, career fairs and talks is essential for the industry as it moves forward, and open communication and involvement is critical.
Collaboration is crucial
Perhaps the most important thing for STEM industries moving forward is collaborating with students and young people. Yvonne Baker, Chief Executive of STEM Learning said “We are heading towards a perfect storm for STEM businesses in the UK. The shortage is a problem for employers, society and the economy, and in this age of technological advancement, the UK has to keep apace. We need to be in a better position to home grow our talent, but it cannot be left to government or schools alone – businesses have a crucial role to play too.”
“STEM Learning bridges the gap between businesses and schools. By working with us to invest in teachers in local schools and colleges, employers can help deliver a world-leading STEM education, inspiring young people and building the pipeline of talent in their area, making it a win-win for everyone.”
Specialising in science, maths, technology and IT is a great idea for students looking for a profitable career. Companies can also help with these subjects in the school day too, by giving presentations, being involved with local schools and finding opportunities for practical learning. Educational visits can be another strategy for businesses and schools moving forward. Looking around a fascinating, fast-paced, creative company can be just what students need to consider a career in STEM industries. It is also essential that young people are aware of the varied and diverse range of roles available in STEM industries. From coding clubs, to design challenges to field trips, making students aware of and involved in the STEM field is crucial for the UK.
Key skills for a STEM career
Looking at the skills necessary to thrive in the STEM industries is important for everyone involved. Clear communication between employers and schools can help educate young people about how to become a perfect candidate for a STEM role. So what are the skills that are in such short supply?<a href=https://www.weareteachers.com/important-stem-skills-teaching-kids/>According to STEM education specialists</a> there are seven key areas where students can demonstrate their talents – these are statistics, problem-solving, creativity, argumentation, intellectual curiosity, data-driven decision making and flexibility. Students with an aptitude for any of these should be encouraged to hone their skills at school, at home and in the workplace. Extra-curricular activities that can help with these skills like coding, analysis and creativity are another great way that businesses and schools can collaborate.
Creating these opportunities for both young people and employers requires a higher level of communication between businesses and schools than ever before. Introducing children and young people to the fascinating and varied careers available in the STEM industries is paramount, and there are strategies in place to encourage this. Creative collaboration and partnerships with specialised STEM initiatives are useful not just for future STEM professionals but for the UK’s manufacturing industry as a whole.