Preparing for the future

Developments in science and technology, a £2 billion per year government investment and the UK aiming for space launch capability, are all factors inspiring students to study more STEM subjects.

Below is an extract from this article published in Relocate's Guide to Education & Schools in the UK. Click below if you are interested in receiving a full printed copy of the guide.

With science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects of increasing importance in a competitive world, there are lots of initiatives to spark the imagination of the future workforce, whether they are seeking a vocational career path or a more academic one.Employers in a range of sectors are seeking to benefit the economy and young people by offering everything from bursaries and prize money to education and training programmes and meaningful work experience.This approach is very much in line with the government’s agenda. In her speech at business organisation the CBI’s annual conference in November 2016, Prime Minister Theresa May outlined her plans for Britain to be “the global go-to place for scientists, innovators and tech investors”. In his Autumn Statement, Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond confirmed a spend of £2 billion per year on science and technology.

The space sector

In the UK, the vibrant space sector is keen to attract young talent. Now worth almost £12 billion a year, it directly supports 37,000 jobs and has grown at an average of nearly 9 per cent since 2000. The UK Space Agency (UKSA) has set out an ambitious target to grow the industry from £9.1 billion in 2010 to £40 billion in 2030.Speaking at the CBI conference, Katherine Courtney, chief executive of the UKSA, said that there was no doubt that Tim Peake – the astronaut who spent 186 days working on the International Space Station as part of a collaboration between the UKSA and the European Space Agency (ESA) – had inspired children. She hoped his expedition and subsequent role as a space ambassador would help prompt them to start down a path that could lead them to careers requiring knowledge of STEM subjects.Explained Ms Courtney, “Being able to do those big collaborative missions, which we would not be able to afford on our own, not only gives us the opportunity to do amazing space science and push out the boundaries by participating in projects such as one to record trace gasses in the atmosphere of Mars, but also means that UK-based space companies can participate in those missions and can win contracts through participation in the European Space Agency.”It is exciting for schoolchildren to know that the UK is now aiming for space launch capability, and that a UK spaceport is on the horizon before 2020. Likely to be for unmanned missions, it would significantly reduce the cost of launching satellites for UK companies.
Another organisation, the National Space Academy, provides inspiring contexts from space science to boost student science attainment, develop greater teacher effectiveness, and highlight career pathways into the UK space and wider science and engineering sectors. It is keen to invite organisations to help it support the education and skills development of the UK’s next generations of scientists and engineers.Having worked with over 20,000 students, 4,000 teachers, and hundreds of university students and early-career space professionals since its launch in 2011, the academy is igniting the passion of teachers and pupils. Its 30-plus science teachers, project scientists and engineers train teachers to use its methodologies to reach hundreds of students per teacher. They also provide masterclasses for secondary-school and college students.[…]

Further UK Guide articles:


The car industry

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), owned by Indian automobile company Tata Motors, is the UK’s largest automotive manufacturer. Though it is now expanding its global presence by manufacturing vehicles in Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America, the UK remains the cornerstone of its business.In November 2016, the company attracted media headlines when it outlined the possibility of manufacturing electric cars at a site in Coventry. This could see 10,000 new jobs created in the West Midlands and would double JLR’s output from 500,000 to a million cars a year.Over the past five years, JLR has employed more than 20,000 people, taking its workforce to almost 40,000, and invested more than £12 billion in capital expenditure and developing new products. As the UK’s leading investor in automotive research and development, it is committed to encouraging young people to become the next generation of engineers and technologists.The Royal Academy of Engineering predicts that the UK will face a shortfall of 200,000 qualified engineers by 2020. JLR is working with government and other agencies to address this. It is also training and building the skills of young people, new recruits, and its existing workforce.
Copyright: Jaguar Land Rover
In collaboration with schools and colleges, the firm’s Inspiring Tomorrow’s Engineers (ITE) programme promotes learning and engagement in STEM subjects, to encourage young people to consider careers in engineering and manufacturing. Key elements of the programme include dedicated education centres in areas close to JLR facilities, imaginative projects for school pupils, and a wide variety of work experience opportunities.The ITE programme won Business in the Community’s (BITC) national education award in 2013, in recognition of the positive impact its long-term school partnerships were having on increasing employability skills and promoting engineering careers.[…]

Forging partnerships

Local to its manufacturing plants and engineering facilities in the Midlands, JLR has invested in six Education Business Partnership Centres (EBPCs) as part of a partnership with Birmingham Metropolitan College. The centres provide learning facilities and resources for children from primary age to 18+.Groups of pupils from local schools visit the centres for a day or part of a day with their teachers, to learn about engineering, manufacturing and automotive business-related activities. Teachers can use the facilities to complement their own courses or take advantage of tailor-made courses prepared by the centres.
Copyright: Jaguar Land Rover
“Jaguar Land Rover invests around £2 million each year in education-related programmes,” said Les Ratcliffe, head of community relations. “Our education centres help young people gain a wider understanding of how vehicles are designed and manufactured, and inspire some to consider a career in the automotive industry.“Over 20,000 young people and 3,000 teachers visit our six centres each year. The programme reaches students beyond those who visit the centres, as teachers take what they have learned back to the classroom to share with other children at their schools.”[…]Providing work experience is a key element of JLR’s programme to increase interest in the automotive industry. At each of its five sites, the company offers opportunities for young people aged 14–18 to learn about careers in engineering, manufacturing and business-related subjects. Its programme won BITC’s Work Inspiration Award 2013.

Reinforcing maths and digital skills

Global consultancy Deloitte is also doing its bit to support the UK economy and the next generation of the workforce.During his time with the company, chartered accountant Colin Hegarty took part in its Reading Partners scheme, helping a pupil in a London school with reading and literacy. He discovered a passion for teaching and for making a difference to disadvantaged young people.Mr Hegarty later resigned from his job to train as a teacher. He went on to make nearly 2,000 instructional maths videos, which have been used by more than eight million students in over 200 territories around the world. The idea grew from a series of videos he made to help one of his students, who had to study from home because his father was terminally ill.The videos proved so popular that Colin Hegarty was named UK Teacher of the Year in 2014. In 2016, he was a finalist in the Global Teacher Prize for his outreach work in the UK.With financial support from the charity SHINE, Mr Hegarty is using his success to develop a maths platform, hegartymaths.com, which enables teachers to set their students home learning projects and monitor their progress. The platform has already been used by 200,000 students.Said Colin Hegarty, “As well as providing me with the first steps in my career and the skills I use every day to work efficiently and with purpose, Deloitte has helped me set up robust technology systems. It has also held a strategy workshop day to help me develop a plan to make HegartyMaths sustainable and maximise its impact on maths students.“Deloitte invited my apprentice coders to visit the offices for outreach events, which have proved very rewarding for the apprentices and given them ambition and confidence to apply to work in a firm like Deloitte in the future.”Access hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online Directory  Get access to our free Global Mobility Toolkit

Related Articles