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ED6: A Future In Science

Mon, 15/10/2001 - 01:00

A push, backed by the House of Lords, is hoping to see more students sign up for science related courses at college level.

There has been a huge rise in science and technology job vacancies over the last few years, these are usually areas that the UK has excelled at in the past, and these job vacancies look set to keep on rising.

Semta, the sector skills council for science, engineering and manufacturing technologies, predicts that 82,000 scientists, engineers and technologists will need to be recruited and trained by 2016 in the UK alone, simply to keep pace with the retirement of an ageing workforce.

Any solution to plugging this future skills shortage will need to begin at school and college, rather than at university level, and it is here that ED6 and East Durham College can help with preparing candidates to match industry demands.

In July this year the Lords Science and Technology Committee called for immediate action to boost the number of people studying STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects at undergraduate and post-graduate level, while a recent study by the World Economic Forum and consultancy firm Deloitte estimates that 10 million manufacturing jobs worldwide cannot be filled due to a shortage of talent.

National initiatives to encourage pupils to develop an interest in science-based subjects - and thus make science and engineering-related careers a compelling prospect – include the Institution of Energy and Technology’s Faraday Challenge Days, the British Science Association’s Crest Awards, and the Bloodhound Programme.

Jonathan Ellis, from the Bloodhound Education Programme, whose projects hope to inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers and mathematicians, said: “There has been a general drop-off in pure sciences over the last 10 years, particularly among girls, and in the number of engineering schools.

“This has resulted in UK PLC and some FTSE 100 companies not being able to recruit at apprenticeship or graduate level.”

Ultimately, those entering the workplace with a degree in a scientific, technological, engineering or mathematical-based subject will not only be helping to address the UK’s skills gap but will also significantly improve their own career and earning prospects.

Jacqui Lee, Head of ED6, added: “Quality science provision has to be an important part of any A Level providers offer.

“That’s why at ED6 we created our scientific pathway as part of our curriculum offer to student which helps them select the right mix of subjects giving them the best platform to go into an undergraduate course within the subject area.

“We have also introduced a BTEC in Forensic Science as this is another sector with growing career opportunities and this proved to be a very popular choice with learners.”