Plugging the technical skills gap
13 Mar 2012
A massive 2.2 million people are needed by industry to enter science and engineering careers over the next five years – but, in terms of engineering, the historical trend is that only 125,000 will do so.
Those were the stark statistics offered up as the Big Bang Fair got underway (March 15-17) as part of the national strategy to tackle the lack of young people pursuing careers in science and engineering.
Approximately 30,000 young people were expected to attend The Big Bang Fair during its three days at the NEC, Birmingham. The UK economy needs all of that number and many more to fill the technical skills gap by pursuing relevant degrees and advanced apprenticeships, before going taking up engineering careers.
The president of Europe's largest professional engineering group, the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), Dr Mike Short, comments: "We have supported this fair for three years now and it goes from strength to strength. It is vital that experimentation here leads to ideas being turned into innovation. Learning skills in science and technology now will help develop skills in engineering and technology for tomorrow, and an appetite for new worlds of innovation. Furthermore, the employability prospects in engineering provide a stronger career platform than many other subjects, and take students en route to play their part in this digital century."
The sell-out Big Bang Fair, part of National Science and Engineering Week, is the nation's largest grassroots celebration of the sciences, engineering and technology. Gareth James, head of education at the IET adds: "The Big Bang Fair is the ideal opportunity for young people, their families and teachers to see a broad selection of the many organisations involved in engineering, scientific research and technological development in the UK and beyond.
"Fun, excitement, intrigue and creativity are at the heart of the Big Bang Fair, but so is guidance on careers. The event gives attendees the chance to meet some of the big science and engineering employers, to discover more about what they do, and the challenging and rewarding careers they have on offer."
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