Why is your company joining the STEM Alliance?

Given the importance of STEM skills for emerging jobs across Europe, it is essential that industry and Ministries work together to increase awareness of STEM, provide support to STEM teaching and learning and ensure future skills requirements can be fulfilled across Europe.

Aligning student skills with the available jobs is the main goal of The Pact for Youth , launched by companies with the EU. The STEM Alliance offers IBM and other industry partners a platform to collaborate and strengthen our STEM careers activities, provide schools with high quality resources, and achieve more effective evaluation and greater impact in the context of the Pact for Youth.

Why is STEM Education a priority for your company?

Nothing is more fundamental to economic growth than building 21st-century skills. IBM's longstanding commitment to education has evolved over the years to anticipate the needs of a changing world. We have addressed issues of childhood and adult literacy, early childhood exposure to math and science concepts, and the shortage of qualified math and science teachers.

As IBM transforms and becomes a cognitive solutions and cloud platform company, ICT Skills in cloud computing, data analytics and software development are essential. The demand for these skills will continue to grow, therefore, ensuring students are engaged and educated about STEM careers opportunities is essential for our business and our sector.

Innovations in the areas of artificial intelligence and cognitive computing (the ability of machines to learn), and the "internet of things" (the interconnectedness of "smart" devices) will drive the global economy. Our ability to analyse massive amounts of data and transform it into actionable information will mean the difference between progress and stagnation, and educating the next generation to participate in and contribute to the global digital economy is essential.

What does your company want to achieve with its support to the STEM Alliance?

The disparity between young men and girls taking up STEM careers is significant, industry and Ministries of Education need to find ways of working together to address that gap. In the near future 90% of jobs – practically all careers, not just engineering, will require some level of digital skills, therefore it is essential for the growth of our economy that every citizen has at least basic digital skills in order to live, work, learn and participate in society.

IBM collaborates with education experts, teachers and students and invests significantly in high quality STEM resources including, a program that expands and reinforces teacher competency, initially focused on math and science. The program makes available, 471 lessons and 73 pedagogical strategies in 13 languages. We want to expand use of Teachers TryScience to help raise student interest and performance in STEM.

2014 marked the beginning of a new era in the application of cognitive computing technology to the teaching profession, as IBM demonstrated the proof of concept for a no-cost, interactive, cognitive "mentor" available anytime to help teachers improve their teaching strategies. Watson Teacher Advisor will be the world's first advanced cognitive computing tool focused exclusively on supporting and strengthening the ability of teachers to improve instruction and student achievement. Confidential, non-judgmental, enabled for mobile users, and totally free of charge.

Through the STEM Alliance we would like to increase the impact of these resources and to encourage more companies to work with schools so that students are equipped with the right skills for 21st century jobs, and help deliver The Pact for Youth.