Help for STEM Careers

2 May 2012

Students in a lab 

Is your business struggling with recruitment? Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) careers are vitally needed, but it’s been difficult to get new people into the field. STEM careers comprise a wide variety of industries, some examples are:

  • Manufacturing
  • Forensics
  • Biotechnology
  • Robotics

If you are looking to revitalize your business and help students, a recent report by FutureLab is worth a read. Here we take a look at the latest findings.

Schools are in a much more difficult position than ever when it comes to providing STEM work opportunities. There is no longer a requirement for work related learning at Key Stage 4. The government has also indicated that funding for career services programmes at schools will end this year. It is now the school’s responsibility to provide these services at cost to them, which may be a daunting prospect in the middle of a recession.

The importance of helping students transition into the workplace is now imperative for schools since the government has committed to publishing the results of students’ destinations after graduation to be used a comparison tool. Making matters worse students feel unhappy with the careers provisions provided for them at school. Just 18% of students interested in a STEM career path were satisfied with the career advice they received, according to a report published by the National Audit Office.

Employers are in a good position to assist STEM students and their schools while benefiting from the arrangement. A study held by the Department of Education showed that of the schools surveyed with a critical regard to employer engagement and student attainment, all of them showed positive effects for young people, such as ‘preparedness for work, developing job and work skills, improving work based competencies, attitudes, and behaviours, enhanced employability and higher initial wages’.

Companies that engage students by offering opportunities for work experience tap into a resource that will enable them to save money on future recruitment and training. It gives companies a way to ‘try out’ prospective employees and train them to their liking before committing to hire. Engaging with the community has valuable benefits for a company beyond just the students. It also serves as a form of free PR and a way to build and improve a company’s reputation with minimal effort and low cost. It can also help to build employee’s motivation and productivity by feeling more involved with their community and with their employer as well.

There is definitely a place for companies to help students interested in STEM fields achieve their goals. It doesn’t just have to be offering internships or work experience placements. Engaging students through their clubs and societies, or coming in to talk to them in class time are great ways to get involved.

If you have any questions about the study conducted by FutureLabs or how your company can get involved with local schools, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Cambridge-Hitachi. We would love to hear from you.