The government campaign aims to raise up take of science and maths A’ levels by 50% and boost awareness of the career opportunities created by studying STEM subjects. It will also promote positive engineering role models in industry, create mentoring programmes for young people and work placements in leading businesses.
Nestlé’s technical director and member of the Your Life advisory board Richard Martin warned the UK food and drink sector will need to attract 170,300 recruits with strong STEM skills by 2020.
‘Robust pipeline of skilled workers’
“There is a real need to highlight the exciting career opportunities in the food and drink sector which are available to those with maths and science skills,” said Martin. “Without a robust pipeline of skilled workers, we won’t be able to meet future growth. Unfortunately, most young people don’t know that their mathematical and scientific minds can be utilised in the exciting world of food and drink manufacturing.”
Nestlé’s scientists, nutritionists and engineers all use science and maths each day, he added. “I look forward to unlocking the potential of young people to help fill the skills gap.”
At present, 20% of food and drink businesses reported difficulties in recruiting staff with the right skills profile – with particular gaps in science and engineering roles.
‘Succeed in life’
Speaking at the launch of the plan at Google headquarters in London yesterday (November 10) education secretary Nicky Morgan said: “Our plan for education will ensure that all young people leave school with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in life in modern Britain.
“Increasing the focus on STEM subjects is a key part of this as it will empower girls and boys equally to leave school able to get a job and get on in life.”
Chair of the Your Life campaign and co-founder of customer data specialist Dunnhumby Edwina Dunn said very few young people received good guidance about how to prepare for a career in business. “In a changing world dominated by technology, it is the skills learned from studying mathematics and science that will matter most.
“Yet these are exactly the subjects that the vast majority of 16 year olds are turning away from – put off by the misconception that maths and science aren’t relevant to their future.”
Your Life will change that misconception, she said.
Watch out for our video interviews with Martin and Dunn later this week.