Businesses warn of ‘skills crisis’ as youngsters reject STEM jobs

Most businesses believe Britain is facing a skills “crisis” in areas such as technology and engineering, as fewer young people pursue science-related subjects and training.

Research by Nestle found almost a third of Yorkshire and Humber residents (27 per cent) thought science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects were the most positive growth area in the UK.

However, two-thirds of businesses in these sectors believe there are not enough young people studying the subjects to meet future demand.

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Two-thirds of businesses (67 per cent) in STEM-related fields believe there has been no improvement in the availability of skilled recruits in the past five years. More than a third (34 per cent) said the situation has worsened in the same period.

Nestle also surveyed more than 300 youngsters aged 14 to 16 and found most would consider a career in industries linked to technology and engineering, but many were deterred by a lack of awareness of jobs on offer.

More than half (51 per cent) said they knew little or nothing about the types of jobs on offer, with fewer females familiar with STEM careers (41 per cent) than males (58 per cent).

Two thirds (64 per cent) of the youngsters said they were planning to study STEM subjects in higher education.

Fiona Kendrick, chief executive of Nestle UK & Ireland, said it is “promising” so many young people were considering STEM subjects.

However, there is “evidently a breakdown that needs to be addressed” to increase the number of people entering related careers, she added.

Greg Clark, minister of state for Universities, Science and Cities, said: “This research shows that there is clear need to do more to inspire young people to study STEM subjects and enable them to have the opportunity to access science and engineering careers.”