Scientists, engineers and STEM professionals go back to school to respond to skills gap

STEM Discovery Week 2017 is being celebrated on 24-30 April with various face-to-face and online events that underline the importance of school and industry collaboration, to address the current shortage of STEM students and professionals in Europe.


The brand new "Professionals Go Back to School" scheme of STEM Alliance - under the patronage of Mr Tibor Navracsics, Member of the European Commission -  is a joint initiative of 13 major companies, coordinated by European Schoolnet and CSR Europe, which brings schools and industry closer together.

This scheme has developed a tool that helps representatives of schools and industry to get in touch with each other to organise joint activities and events where schools are introduced to the work of professionals in the field of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

While the number of STEM graduates has dropped up to 20% between 2006 and 2014, in some sectors such as ICT, the European Commission predicts 7 million job openings in STEM related professions. The "Professionals Go Back to School" scheme seeks to revert this trend by raising awareness about STEM careers from an early age through a dialogue between STEM professionals and students.

In addition to celebrating the first visits organised as part of the scheme, The STEM Alliance will host three webinars in cooperation with its partners on the impact of STEM teaching on students' motivation and attainment in these fields. These webinars are open to the public and will be recorded allowing those interested to access them online at any time.

The first one, "Open Webinar - Skills for a sustainable future" will be organised by CSR on the 25th of April , while the second and the third one - respectively on 27 and 28 April - with the title "Stories from Amgen Scholars & the transition from school-to-work", will be organised by STEM Alliance in cooperation with Amgen Teach as part of the "Opening Minds To STEM Careers" MOOC.

"Collaboration between schools and industry makes teachers more aware of current role models in the field of STEM, as well as study paths and careers. Industry can also offer teachers options for placements in companies, in-service training and teaching resources," explains Marc Durando, Executive Director of European Schoolnet, a network of 31 European Ministries of Education.

"The STEM Alliance "Professionals Go Back to School" scheme is a great example of how business-education partnerships can have a significant impact on the employability of young people. Industry can play a leading role in reducing the existing STEM skills gap and we would urge more companies to take their commitment a step further to forge long-term partnerships to enhance the skills of young people", says Stefan Crets, Executive Director of CSR Europe.

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