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The government should do more to make careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) more attractive, says a report from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

The report by CBI, called Engineering our Future, argues that key sectors in the British economy are facing a “skills crunch”, with a particular shortage of technicians and women.

The CBI calls on the government to do more to rectify this in order to ensure the continued growth of the economy.

It recommends cuts in tuition fees for some STEM subject courses, better training for those already in the industry and the development of one-year cross-over courses that would enable 18 year olds to switch back to STEM subjects in preparation for a related degree.

The report says without help to boost STEM qualifications and encouragement for young people to take the career path into these industries, businesses will continue to struggle.

The government assures it is investing £385m in STEM university facilities and to support teaching.

Katja Hall, the CBI’s chief policy director, said:

“The growing skills vacuum is threatening the recovery, as demand from firms is outstripping supply.

“Highly-skilled workers are essential for our growth sectors and it will be those young people with science and maths who will go on to become the engineers and new tech entrepreneurs of tomorrow.

“The government must explore if it is possible to reduce the costs of some of these courses and create a one-year cross-over qualification at 18 for those who turned away from science and maths after GCSEs, but now want to take a related degree.”

 

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