Edwin Dunn, chair of the Your Life campaign and co-founder of customer data specialist Dunnhumby, said children – particularly girls – were often deterred from studying science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM subjects) because they were perceived to be “boring, dead end and very male dominated”.
‘Very male dominated’
In this video interview Dunn told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “Children should go where the jobs are. If you have maths or science you will be welcomed with open arms and can look forward to a fast-tracked career.”
The three-year Your life campaign launched this week aimed to raise the up take of science and maths A’ levels by 50% and boost awareness of the career opportunities linked to STEM subjects. It will also promote positive engineering role models in industry, create mentoring programmes for young people and work placements in leading businesses.
Speaking at the launch of the government funded scheme Nestlé’s technical director and member of the Your Life advisory board Richard Martin said the UK food and drink sector will need to attract 170,300 recruits with strong STEM skills by 2020.
Become a social worker
Meanwhile, boss of Ford Europe Barb Samardzich explained how she rejected the recommendation of her careers adviser to become a social worker in favour of a career in engineering. The vice president and chief operating office of the automotive giant explained the strong business case for supporting the Your Life initiative.
“Ford supports Your Life partly for selfish reasons,” she said at the launch in central London. “If we don’t attract women into our workforce, we are missing out on 50% of the talent pool.”
One thing that inhibited women from taking up careers in technology and engineering was the lack of role models, she added.