Skills shortages in STEM sectors represent a real threat to the UK’s capacity for growth. Even in the current recessionary period, employers cannot find enough future employees suitably qualified in STEM to meet demand. Although young people value mathematics and science education, many do not study STEM subjects beyond GCSE and too few are currently inspired by STEM to pursue such choices beyond compulsory education. This paper, published to coincide with Science and Engineering Week 2013, presents NFER’s research evidence about what works to encourage further engagement in, and take-up of, STEM subjects.
NFER calls on policymakers, schools, colleges, STEM employers, professional bodies and the research community to work together to ensure that successful strategies become more widespread.