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STEM skills in Scotland

24 October 2011
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Delegates at the Holyrood briefing

IET Policy Group facilitates debate at Holyrood, Scotland

The IET’s Scotland Policy Panel recently facilitated a debate on STEM skills and the Scottish economy, providing valuable material for follow-up with the Scottish government.

Held at Holyrood on 14 September and hosted and chaired by Maureen Watt MSP, the event featured a keynote address from Allan Cook CBE, the chairman of Semta, WS Atkins and SELEX Galileo. Six members of the Scottish Parliament and 65 leaders from Scottish STEM academia, industry and the STEM professions attended.

The panel for the hour-long Q&A session represented a broad spectrum of political opinion, and included the IET’s director of Governance and Policy, Dr Tony Whitehead, who commented: “STEM skills are the cornerstones of a successful, sustainable economy and one of the keys to Scotland’s future. Motivating young people to take a career in STEM seriously is key and an activity in which the IET invests considerable time and resource.

“Clearly, though, more needs to be done. Changing this requires commitment and leadership by the Scottish Parliament together with a harmonised effort by industry, the STEM professional bodies, such as the IET, and other stakeholders.”

After the event Liam McArthur MSP, who was a member of the panel, tabled four related written questions to Mike Russell MSP, the Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Education and Life Long Learning.

The EPGS acts as a two-way link between the science and engineering professions and government in Scotland.

It benefits greatly from being cross-disciplinary through participation by the IET, Institution of Civil Engineers, Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Institute of Physics, Institution of Chemical Engineers and the Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland.