IET: National campaign launched to help fill the shortage of technology based skills

Europe’s largest professional society of engineers today announces the launch of a new major campaign to plug the gap of graduates with technology based skills.

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) invites any UK science related business to sponsor a school in its region and be part of a successful initiative to attract the engineers of tomorrow. The sponsorship will go towards running Faraday Challenge Days, which are hands-on activities run in schools throughout the UK. They give 12 and 13 year olds the chance to find out about exciting and rewarding careers in science, technology, engineering and maths through practical challenges and interactive learning.

At present, there is a shortage of graduates from science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) degrees. That is because not enough young people in schools are interested in STEM subjects. The intake of these subjects at undergraduate level desperately needs to increase further to prevent the UK economy from suffering.

Gareth James, Head of Education at the IET, says, “We are already running the scheme in hundreds of UK schools with brilliant results. But this is the first time we’ve invited every UK science business to get behind it so we can reach even more young people. Prior to a Faraday Challenge, only 27% of teenagers taking part say they are interested in pursuing a STEM career, but afterwards 56% express an interest. Getting more schools to participate in positive, engaging schemes such as the Faraday Challenge will help to turn around the UK engineering skills shortage.”

Schools are already queuing up to be involved in the Faraday Programme in 2010, but due to lack of corporate sponsorship the IET is only able to support a limited number. The IET is offering businesses the chance to make a connection with a school in their region. It only costs an average of only £37 per child who takes part in the Faraday Challenge.

The Faraday scheme is a great way for businesses to develop closer links with a school in their region. Businesses can sponsor the Faraday Challenge for as little as £3,000.

Gareth James says, “We are making a call to action – every science, engineering and technology based company should think long and hard about where their talent will come from over the next decade. Together we can contribute to turning the tide and keep the UK at the leading edge of engineering and technology.

The skills shortage in the UK is already having an impact with 20% of professional science jobs filled by migrant workers. At the same time, 1 in 5 UK employers from engineering businesses are not confident about finding new staff with the right level of skills.

The IET Faraday Challenge Days will be running in hundreds of schools across the UK from October.

Media enquiries to:
Robert Beahan
Press Officer

Tel: +44 (0)1438 767336
Mob: +44 (0)7595 400912

Jonathan Holdcroft
Press Officer

Tel: +44 (0)1438 765628
Mob: +44(0)7515 814884

Notes to editors:

.In 2009 the IET ran the Faraday Challenge in 210 schools. In 2010 there are already 270 schools due to take part.

.For information and photos about the Faraday scheme see:

.1 in 4 engineering employers believe they will not be able to find suitable recruits in 4 – 5 years from now.

.The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) is Europe’s largest professional body of engineers with 150,000 members in 127 countries.

.IET and Faraday Challenge spokespersons are available for interviews and comment.

.The IET invests £0.5 million of its own funds in the Faraday programme.