Alarmed by the skills gaps which have opened in these skills in the UK.

The EIC, the leading trade association for UK companies supplying goods and services to the energy industries worldwide is teaming up with educational charity EDT in recognition that more needs to be done to encourage students to move into science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) careers.

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Alarmed by the skills gaps which have opened in these skills in the UK, EIC is convinced by the EDT approach of building business/education links which enable students see the possibilities of STEM careers and therefore to make better informed career choices.

CEO Mike Majors says;

“Recognising that engineers have been in short supply and will increasingly be so in the future, the EIC Board had considered for some time how best to encourage and facilitate engineering as a career choice for the upcoming generation and after a presentation by EDT decided that a partnership with EDT, being an established organisation, was an excellent way to promote this aim.

Having over 600 member companies all involved in the energy industries mostly in design, engineering and/or manufacture and associated services and employing in aggregate in excess of 1,000,000 people it was seen that many member companies might like to access the brightest and most talented new engineers coming out of university to give them a start in industry whilst at the same time giving the employer the opportunity to evaluate how that engineer could contribute to the company before making a full commitment. Basically a win/win for everyone.”

The Chief Executive of EDT, Dr Gordon Mizner, agrees with this outlook adding;

“We are very hopeful that many EIC members will take the opportunity to look at the benefits that working with EDT to inspire students into STEM careers will have for their companies and the future skills availability for the energy sector in general. There are opportunities to engage with education in many different types of schemes, The Year in Industry which involves a pre-university or undergraduate student working in a company for a full year is the most obvious fit for many companies but at the other end of the scale are the Industrial Trust schemes to enthuse younger secondary school children, which are typically single day experiences. Between these extremes are numerous possibilities including the well known Go4SET scheme for 12-14 year olds and the highly successful Engineering Education Scheme for Lower Sixth form students.

To maintain the global strength of UK companies in science and engineering we need to ensure that these industries attract more than their fair share of the brightest and best of school leavers and this can only be achieved by giving them the best possible information on what is on offer.

Our partnership with EIC enables us to make a wide range of companies aware of our work. Many EIC members such as 3M, Aggreko, Siemens, Babcock Marine, Darchem, Mott Macdonald already engage with us and there are many others that we would like to work with in the same way.”

The partnership will see EIC working with EDT to build links between its members and schools and other educational institutions. EDT is hopeful that it will be able to establish similar arrangements with other associations in STEM based industries.

Dr Mizner says,

“There is a lot of work to be done. We all know that skills gaps presently exist in STEM based industries and there is no sign of this changing unless we are much more active in changing the perceptions of students as young as 11 or 12. One statistic quoted by James Dyson in his recent “Ingenious Britain” Report is that while 32% of teenage girls want to be models, only 14% want to be scientists and only 4% what to be engineers. If we just smile indulgently we fail to realise that these girls are making their pre and post 16 exam choices based on this distorted view of their possible future careers. They close off their opportunities to reconsider a science or engineering career in the future by the subject choices they make.

Partnerships such as those with the EIC are really important in mobilising companies to help tackle this serious issue. We hope to establish many more such relationships in the future.”

To contact EDT for more information, go to www.etrust.org.uk or contact Penny Tysoe on 01707 871 528 or p.tysoe@etrust.org.uk.

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