Many young people are interested in furthering their learning of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects, but do not always have the opportunities to do so, a new survey suggests.
The Institution of Engineering and Technology's 2014 Skills Survey poll, which questioned over 400 engineering and IT staff, revealed that 59 per cent of companies believe a lack of available engineers will be a threat to their business in the coming year.
While some 41 per cent of organisations plan to recruit engineering, IT or technical staff across the next year (up from five per cent in 2013), there is a definite disconnect between the skills STEM students leave school with and the experience that employers value.
Nearly one-third of employers do not believe that school leavers have sufficient practical experience, while 25 per cent say that young people lack technical skills.
According to Nupur Singh Mallick, UK & Ireland HR director at Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), the results indicate that businesses and schools need to come together to counteract a "worrying trend".
"To achieve this we not only have to change the structure of education to introduce STEM-based lessons, but fundamentally change the mindset to technology as a whole," she elaborated.
Ms Mallick was quick to point out that young people in the UK are engaged with STEM subjects, so it is simply a case of giving them solid opportunities.
"We’ve found there is great appetite for STEM subjects among youngsters – they just need to be presented with more opportunities to get involved," she explained.
"Not taking the necessary steps now could put the UK and its young people at risk of being left behind, as demand for these skills will only continue to increase."
A key facet of being able to boost these skills is having the time and space to increase understanding - something that can be achieved through regular exhibitions or conferences providing an opportunity to learn, develop and improve.