Jobs: Public ‘backs support for STEM students’

Engineers, manufacturers and scientists are the new rock and roll, as well as being saviours of the economy.

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers commissioned ICM Research to ask 2,000 members of the public their views on student who take on science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) degrees.

A whopping 75 per cent said increasing the supply of science and engineering professionals is essential to the economic wellbeing of the UK, with 72 per cent saying boosting the UK’s engineering, manufacturing and science sectors would help bring the UK out of recession.

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Dr Colin Brown, director of Engineering at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said: “Boosting the country’s engineering, manufacturing and science sectors is crucial to the country’s economic recovery – but this can only be done if we have sufficient numbers of skilled professionals entering these sectors.

Government needs to consider incentives like subsidies for students pursuing STEM subjects at university, and more needs to be done to promote STEM subjects in schools and colleges.

“There is also an urgent need for schools, technical colleges and universities to develop better links to industry – to ensure that people have the right skills to excel in the commercial world, and to inspire children and students about the huge possibilities of careers in STEM.”

Some 59 per cent of people surveyed said they would back proposals for government to contribute £5,000 each year towards tuition fees for UK students taking STEM degrees. Around 11 per cent would disagree.

The survey also found that 69% of the public think that engineering and science should be designated as ‘critical national professions’ that are vital for the growth and wellbeing of our economy.