David George, lead project management trainer at the learning and development consultancy, Explosive Learning Solutions (ELS), will be a key speaker at a STEM project management conference being held in Harwell, Oxfordshire, on 29th November.

STEM – an acronym covering the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics – is a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in these four specific disciplines in an inter-disciplinary and applied approach. Rather than teach the four disciplines as separate subjects, STEM integrates them into a cohesive learning paradigm based on real-world applications.

The Harwell Campus event – for young people who are interested in taking up careers within the disciplines covered by STEM – is a repeat of a similar event held last year. ELS was asked to provide a speaker for that event and, by popular request, ELS has been asked to provide a speaker for this year’s conference.

STEM is a concept that has, traditionally, been championed in the United States of America – principally because, according to a report by the website STEMconnector.org, by 2018, projections estimate the need for 8.65m workers in STEM-related jobs in the USA. The US manufacturing sector faces a shortage of nearly 600,000 employees with the necessary skills.

This issue is not unique to the United States.

In the UK, the Royal Academy of Engineering reports that the UK will have 100,000 people graduate in STEM subjects every year until 2020 in order to meet demand from employers. Moreover, according to the report, Germany currently has a shortage of 210,000 workers in the mathematics, computer science, natural science and technology disciplines.

David George, of ELS, explained, “It’s important to stress that not all STEM jobs require a college degree. Less than half of entry-level STEM jobs require a bachelor’s degree or higher.

“That said, possessing a bachelor’s degree is helpful with salary. The average advertised starting salary for entry-level STEM jobs with a bachelor’s requirement was 26% higher than jobs in non-STEM fields, according to the STEMconnect report.”

David continued, “We’re delighted to be able to play our part in helping to promote STEM as a career path for young people to consider seriously.

“What’s also important to remember is that much of the STEM curriculum is focused on attracting under-represented groups in these jobs. That includes both gender and ethnic under-representation. So, for example, according to the STEMconnect report, female students are significantly less likely than their male counterparts to pursue a STEM career.”

Cath Convery, ELS’s Head of Learning, said, “It’s important to give young people as much relevant information as possible to help them in their choice of career – especially if that information gives them a new perspective on working life and encourages them to explore a career that both challenges and interests them. ELS is delighted to be able to help in this locally, as part of our corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy.”