Disparate initiatives aimed at improving young people’s interest in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) are having little long-term effect, according to a new report.
The study from the Royal Academy of Engineering has found that more than 600 UK organisations run schemes to improve STEM engagement, but so far there has not been an increased uptake of STEM subjects.
It calls for much more co-ordination of initiatives and better evaluation of their long-term impact. The report also says that initiatives need to better direct young people to further STEM study.
The report was commissioned by Lloyd’s Register Foundation. Its chief executive Richard Clegg said: “I hope that, in having undertaken this study, we in the community now make a concerted effort to work together and coordinate our activities to maximise the impact of our engagement with young people in schools and colleges.”
The academy’s director of engineering and education Rhys Morgan added: “This study highlights that there is no single silver bullet to solving the UK’s engineering skills challenge. To address the issue we need to take a systems approach and tackle the problem of public understanding of engineering in the 21st century, alongside the need to work with government to ensure the education system is aligned with the needs of the economy.
“We also need to make sure that, where we have many organisations supporting schools, their activities are having the long-term impact that will ultimately encourage more young people to pursue careers in our sectors.”
The ICE recently said that local and regional authorities needed work together to develop a skilled workforce capable of delivering vital infrastructure, in order to make the North and the Midlands key economic growth areas.