PM unveils learning facility to support STEM

Posted on 9 Dec 2014 by Victoria Fitzgerald

Yesterday David Cameron has revealed the UK's first digital skills hub, as part of a government push to increase the number of students taking STEM subjects.

Opening in 2015 in London, The National College for Digital Skills aims to educate 5,000 learners from London within the next five years.

Students will be given the opportunity study several different qualifications and vocational courses, as well as being imparted with the technological skills needed to “compete in the global economy”. The institution is set to work with Bank of America, Deloitte and IBM.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “There’s no secret to success in the modern world.

“If countries are going to win in the global race and children compete and get the best jobs, you need mathematicians and scientists – pure and simple. So today, we commit to deliver more maths and science teachers.

“This is all part of our long-term economic plan for Britain – making sure our children have the skills they need to thrive and get on. And by sticking to it, we will lift our children horizons and pull our country up in the world.

“Cameron also announced funding to retrain 15,000 existing teachers and recruit up to 1,500 new teachers, as part of a £67m scheme, in a speech at Downing Street this morning.

“Boosting the take-up of science, maths and technology skills is essential if the UK wants to win in an increasingly competitive global economy, Cameron argued.

“This is all part of the government’s push for the prioritisation of maths and science subjects in UK schools.

Peter Finegold, head of Education and Skills at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said in response to the opening of the college: “It is encouraging that the Government is prioritising science, maths and engineering.

“The Prime Minister is right to say that developing the right skills in the right sectors is crucial to creating a strong and balanced economy.

“But Government needs to go much further than just offering encouraging words. If Government is serious about encouraging more people into these sectors, much more work needs to be done to improve the poor standards of careers advice on offer to most teenagers, who often have little opportunity to find out about the range of career opportunities on offer. We need better links between schools and local industries.

“Government also needs to seriously consider the possibility of providing subsidies for students pursuing degrees in business-critical subjects like science and engineering and needs to put in place rigorous standards for apprentices to ensure they are in industries where there is a real potential for jobs, like engineering, and that standards are verified through accreditation by bodies such as the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.”