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What does Rishi Sunak’s maths pledge mean for the engineering industry?

06 January 2023

Here, the IET responds to the Prime Minister’s recently announced commitment to make studying maths compulsory for all pupils in England until the age of 18.

(Image: Shutterstock)
(Image: Shutterstock)

Although the IET is pleased to see the government place more emphasis on maths for young people, it’s no secret that there is an engineering skills shortage, and we need to do more to show how these core subjects relate to careers.

David Lakin, IET Head of Education, Safeguarding and Education Policy, says: “As one of the main STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths) subjects, and a core discipline of engineering, we’re pleased to see the Government place more emphasis on maths for young people. 

“However, it’s no secret that there is an engineering skills shortage, and we need to do more to show how these core subjects relate to careers.

“There is no point extending maths if it is not supported by clearer learning outcomes and career routes. Teacher training is also a key factor – if teachers aren’t supported in providing the real-life application of what students are being taught, this won’t help our profession and skills gap. Jobs of the future are only going to become more digitally focused, and STEM learning will be imperative to this.

“Repeatedly acknowledged by [the] Government, STEM subjects are of vital importance to the UK. They are the key in delivering the Government’s ambitions, for a high-skills, high-wage economy, levelling up, facilitating a green industrial revolution, and reinforcing the UK’s position as a science and technology superpower.

“We recently launched our Engineering Kids’ Futures report, which set out a number of recommendations including embedding engineering into the curriculum through STEM subjects. 

“We need to nurture, develop, and give appropriate opportunities to young people allowing them to make better informed choices about their futures and this, in turn, will help to ease the UK’s skills gap.” 


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