STEM stands for Science Technology Engineering and Maths and encompasses a range of subjects from computer coding through to spring making. These subjects are a critical component for the sustained growth of our economy; confirmed through research by The Royal Academy of Engineering which found a strong link between a country’s engineering prowess and its economic development.
As technology advances it is clear that the majority of jobs in the near future will require some form of knowledge in STEM subjects. Despite this the number of students choosing to study science at GCSE has decreased by 10% over the past 5 years and the number of engineering and manufacturing apprenticeship starts from 2017 to 2018 has decreased by 27%.
The number of students enrolling in core STEM degrees remained fairly constant between 2012 and 2017, increasing by only 2%. Despite this small increase employers are already noticing a drop in applicants to new posts, with 46% of employers surveyed by Engineering UK experiencing recruitment difficulties due to a lack of skilled candidates.
These figures have led to a STEM crisis in the UK. By 2023 there will be 142,000 core STEM jobs unfilled, with 124,000 level 3+ core engineering roles needing to be filled annually until then. This will cause an annual shortfall of up to 59,000 engineering graduates and technicians to fill core engineering roles alone. In 2023, students currently choosing their GCSE options will be finishing school and either entering the workplace or heading off to university. This is why it is critical that we tackle the problem early by engaging with children from early on in their education.
Only 16% of employed core STEM graduates are working in core STEM jobs and sectors whilst 66% of graduates are working in non-core STEM jobs and sectors despite being educated in a core STEM subject, a figure which is predicted to increase. These figures show that the problem is not solved once students leave education and more work must be done to keep students engaged throughout their higher education or apprenticeships and into the start of their careers.
Initiatives such as STEM Learning are already having a positive impact on the figures with 69% of pupils that have participated in a STEM club experiencing greater motivation and engagement in lessons and 43% improving their progress in science. JB Springs and Springtelligence are looking forward to getting stuck into working with STEM Learning, having recently registered as an Employer and our MD Alex Driver having registered to become a STEM ambassador.
For more information on STEM Learning visit www.stem.org.uk
 comprising of Biological sciences, Agricultural Sciences, Physical/environmental sciences, Mathematical sciences, Computing, Engineering, Technology and Architecture.
 as a percentage of the enrolments across all subjects.