Launch of our guide for local authorities to address the STEM skills shortage challenge

Research undertaken by STEM Learning indicates that 89% of STEM businesses have found it difficult to recruit staff with the required skills in the last 12 months, leading to a current shortfall of over 173,000 workers – an average of 10 unfilled roles per business.

Jobs will be impacted by the rapid growth of new technologies transforming manual processes and generating new ones that derive economic growth.

Industry and government need to adapt to the changing nature of work by focusing on training people for the jobs of tomorrow.

The STEM skills shortage needs to be tackled to achieve economic regeneration and ensure sustainable and fulfilling employment opportunities in a post-Covid world.

The continued rapid digital transformation and the speed of new technology development will provide new opportunities.

Therefore, it’s key that the current and future workforce is provided with enhanced science and engineering skills so that the labour market can flex to meet new demands.

Local authorities can play a key role in helping train and equip people with the skills their region needs.

To deliver solutions that address the UK’s skills gap and diversity issues, we recommend:

  • Local authorities should initiate discussions between academic institutions and industry to ensure the right skills and training are available for the adoption of new technologies as they emerge.
  • Local authorities should help provide/coordinate more training for teachers in areas of computing and engineering to deliver the new information and communication technology (ICT) curriculum.
  • Professional engineering institutions (PEIs) and industry bodies should work with local government to ensure there’s a wider and updated provision of career advice, particularly around engineering. This should include information on the variety of routes into engineering, such as vocational study.
  • UK Government should work more closely with the higher education sector and training providers to ensure funding is allocated on the quality of courses available, not the number of students on each course.
  • UK Government should work with PEIs and industry bodies to research and implement best practices on local skills provision, using examples such as City of York Council and Combined Authority Mayors.
  • UK Government should relax laws to make it simpler for small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups to hire and train work experience students.