Students unaware of jobs in science and engineering

By Laurence Gibbons

- Last updated on GMT

Kendrick aims to inspire the next generation of food engineers at Sheffield Hallam University
Kendrick aims to inspire the next generation of food engineers at Sheffield Hallam University

Related tags Young people Sheffield hallam university

Half of all UK teachers, and students aged 14–16, are unaware of the science and engineering careers available, despite four out of five young people saying they would consider such a role, according to Nestlé.

According to a Populus survey, nearly two thirds of STEM-related (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) businesses did not believe there were enough young people studying STEM subjects to meet future demand.

Fiona Kendrick, ceo of Nestlé UK & Ireland, said it was “essential”​ that businesses engaged with schools and colleges to highlight the vast and diverse number of careers on offer.

‘Needs to be addressed’

“It is a promising sign that so many young people in the UK are considering pursuing STEM subjects in higher education and as a career,” ​she said.

“However, there is evidently a breakdown that needs to be addressed. While young people are interested in STEM subjects at schools, the uptake of careers in these areas is low, with many saying they don’t know enough about the careers that are available.”

Kendrick backed the government’s Your Life campaign, which aims to inspire and inform young people about STEM careers.

In a bid to inspire future food engineers, Kendrick spoke to students on the first MEng Food Engineering degree at Sheffield Hallam University on October 29.

The £9.6M investment was a fantastic facility and breakthrough moment for the food industry, Kendrick said.

The research showed that there was a clear need to do more to inspire young people to study STEM subjects and help them access science and engineering careers, universities minister Greg Clark claimed.

“By bringing together the collective force of industry, academia and the government, the Your Life campaign will help to provide this inspiration and these opportunities to equip young people with the skill they need to succeed,” ​he added.


Edwina Dunn, Dunnhumby co-founder and Your Life chair, said the strength of UK businesses and economy rested on the science, maths and technology skills of the next generation.  

“The Your Life campaign aims to highlight the number of surprising aspirational careers of the future that will centre on science and technology skills,” ​she said. “This will allow young people to make informed decisions about their future.”

As part of Nestlé’s commitment to the Your Life campaign, it aims to quadruple the number of female and male STEM ambassadors by the end of 2015. These ambassadors will engage with schools and colleges to highlight exciting career opportunities.

Research in numbers

  • 78% would consider a STEM careers
  • 51% know little or nothing about the type of jobs on offer
  • 52% of UK science and maths teachers do not know what STEM businesses are looking for in new recruits
  • 86% of GCSE physics students chose not to study the subject at A-Level

Source: ​Nestlé/ Populas

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