Over 55% of IT Decision Makers in the UK believe there is a lack of young talent in their organisations. Addressing this gap in talent and encouraging more young people to study STEM subjects, was the focus of an expert panel discussion hosted at IP EXPO Europe 2016, in collaboration with Hewlett Packard Enterprise.
The esteemed panel, chaired by Dr Sue Black, included TV personalities Maggie Philbin and Johnny Ball, Professor Will Stewart, Vice President of IET and Marc Waters, Managing Director of Hewlett Packard Enterprise in the UK and Ireland. Highlighting the importance of the development of STEM skills in young people for future business success, the panel was united in calling for an overhauled ‘fit for purpose’ school curriculum to meet this need.
Marc Waters, MD HPE commented; “The nurturing of STEM skills is important for a number of reasons: It matters to everyone; from our business and workforce, to our customers and the wider economy. We are committed to playing our part in helping the next generation, supporting various STEM initiatives, working with schools and education groups, petitioning the government and offering a trainee program in-house. There is a long way to go but if we work together as an industry we have the potential to build an enviable STEM talent pool for the future.”
Whilst a need for a new school curriculum was a key focus, the panel also discussed the role of Government, specifically in better enabling organisations to engage directly with schools. The panel noted how the recently launched Apprenticeship Levy was a positive step from the Government, but somewhat restrictive in its permitted application.
The need for the promotion of positive and inspirational STEM influencers was also discussed – from passionate STEM teachers in schools through to access to successful and inspirational STEM role models. The panel noted that the continuing professional development of those already working in STEM roles could play a part, by feeding back into the education process and providing tangible examples of what is possible.
The session concluded with a call for action from organisations, schools and the Government to reconsider the approach to STEM, with a united view that the school curriculum in particular needed more immediate attention.