The UK currently ranks 16th out of 20 OECD (Organisation For The Economic Co-operation and Development) countries. The skills gap we’re working as a nation to close can be seen in the lacking STEAM skills that 40% of employers report difficulties in sourcing.
#STEMSTEAM day is celebrated across social media and in schools across the country in November to encourage and educate the school children of all ages to take up these subjects, to enhance their interest and understanding of them, the skills they can learn and the careers that they might secure by following the a STEAM path.
Of the five skills, at least one if not multiple will be required for countless roles in numerous industries. This is the ultimate idea behind STEAM; these skills are required in all professions at some point, so the continuous development of them is vital in nurturing a progressive culture, from schools to colleges and as adults, both in the workplace and in our own time too.
“Where science ends, art begins.” – Photographer Charles Négre, who noted the connection between the science and engineering behind the development of photographs and the art which they produced.
As we increasingly rely on technology in our own homes as well as in the workplace, businesses need individuals with a knowledge of technology, either to effectively use the equipment and programmes provided or often to provide the insight to strive for development. Science is used in the production of most materials and food and of course for the development of medicine and techniques. We would be without design and development without engineering; these skills allow towns to be built and machinery to be developed successfully. Mathematical skills can be used in every job we do and in everyday life (we hated hearing this at school, but these are necessary skills!) The Arts were not originally included as part of STEM skills, but it is argued that the Arts should be included in the STEAM movement as the Arts allow us to develop creativity, which is invaluable and in great demand, especially when paired with original STEM skills. However, the skills gap in the workplace is preventing businesses from discovering this kind of talent in their candidates.
Back in Spring 2017, the Government made a £500 million investment into the technical education of 16 to 19 year olds, encouraging growth and learning in STEAM subjects and development through practical, industry workplace learning, in a real effort to close the skills gap.
Although schools and colleges are the traditional places to begin learning these skills and capturing interests and passions for the subjects, by engaging in STEAM learning at whatever age or stage in our careers, we can enhance our skills for problem solving, innovation and development, and bring our industries closer to closing the skills gap in the workplace.