If the UK is to lead the world, and benefit from an industrial strategy which puts technical education at its heart, the next government must address the current emergency caused by the shortage of specialist, qualified teachers in mathematics, physics, computing, engineering, and design & technology.
The next UK government should:
- Increase eligibility for bursaries/loans for training to teach all these subjects in primary, secondary, and further education
- Invest in the teaching of these subjects in schools and further education, including salaries of specialist tutors and bursaries for training
- Incentivise activities targeted at recruitment to teach these subjects
- Develop long-term professional development programmes for teachers, including industrial placements, for retention and improved teaching.
This could be funded through unspent funds from the apprenticeship levy.
There are further elements which would contribute to UK-wide success, and they would also benefit through addressing the teacher shortage:
- Careers inspiration and education – providing young people and adults with expert insight into opportunities
- Diversity within STEM study and careers – giving people from all backgrounds the chance to benefit
- Vocational qualifications and curriculum – investment in challenging learning which leads to real progression, particularly in further education
- Apprenticeships – using the levy and the new Standards to make high level engineering apprenticeships the destination of choice
- Promoting engineering – ensuring the sector and the profession are recognised for the contribution they make to wealth, health, and wellbeing
You can see Engineering the Future’s manifesto document, which goes beyond skills, on engineeringthefuture.com
For more detail on how Engineering the Future and Education for Engineering think the Industrial Strategy should be implemented, see the full report here.