by Yvonne Baker
On the 22nd January 2013 the Telegraph published an interview with Brian Cox. Here is my response to the interview:
Brian Cox was right to be upset that British children don’t want a career in science. After all, although the number of UK pupils studying science subjects is on the rise, it remains a challenge to give young people high quality advice about the career pathways and opportunities to available to them. Anyone who has worked in the scientific industries knows how complex it is to explain exactly what their job entails. The term “engineer” or “scientist” doesn’t even begin to describe the enormous range of opportunities that are available to those with scientific qualifications from school or university – qualifications which, it is estimated, deliver an uplift for STEM graduates of £250k in earnings over their lifetime.
A new statutory duty on schools in England to secure access to independent, impartial careers guidance for their pupils came into force in September 2012, but schools need a lot of support in implementing these responsibilities. The House of Commons Education Committee summed up the situation in its recent report thus: “Schools cannot simply be left to get on with it.” The National STEM Centre is playing its part by helping teachers and careers advisors to embed careers-related learning into subject lessons, and there is a host of organisations on hand to help schools make the changes required of them, not least the high tech industrial giants such as Rolls-Royce and BP that Cox so rightly highlights.