Securing the future: STEM careers provision in schools and colleges in England

This joint report by EngineeringUK and 7 engineering and careers organisations calls on government to invest £40 million in improving access to careers provision for students in schools and colleges in England to enable more young people to understand the opportunities available in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) careers and so support the drive to build back better and ’level up’ across the UK in a post-Covid world.

‘Securing the future’ argues that while STEM careers provision is essential to inform and inspire young people irrespective of their gender, ethnicity, socio-economic background or other characteristics about careers in STEM, Covid-19 has made delivering that careers provision in schools and colleges more difficult.

 

Download the report

Key Findings

Just over three quarters (76%) of the careers leaders and STEM teachers surveyed for the report say that it has become more difficult to engage with employers since the start of the pandemic, with many saying that careers activities have been put on hold because of time pressures. The report also found that the digital divide affects access to STEM careers activities in schools and colleges in England, particularly in poorer areas. 68% of schools with above average Free School Meal eligibility (FSM) said a lack of access to technology and internet was a barrier, compared to 36% of schools with below average FSM.

The findings also identified issues related to equality and diversity more generally that were barriers to reaching young people. These include:

  • Lack of role models
  • Limited understanding of what STEM careers could entail
  • Lack of confidence
  • Lack of awareness of available STEM careers provision

Recommendations

The report recommends providing schools with more funding, estimated at around £40 million annually, to improve their careers provision. It suggests the new funding be used to better resource secondary schools and colleges in England to support all young people with their careers choices, with additional funds for STEM careers provision, focused on increasing diversity in the sector. Funding is also recommended for a dedicated STEM leader in each careers hub, whose role it would be to build schools’ STEM careers capacity by supporting and facilitating joint careers activities with employers, including work experience.

Partners for ‘Securing the future’

The series of recommendations are based on a research survey conducted with 200 careers leaders and STEM teachers in secondary schools. The report is co-authored with: