From education to employment

#GCSEResultsDay2018 shows more work needed to address STEM skills gap

Damian Corneal, Apprenticeship Programme Lead, Accenture

Accenture is encouraging Government, businesses, and the education sector to do more to tackle the STEM skills gap and dispel misconceptions about STEM. The company is also calling on students to consider undertaking an apprenticeship as a way to enter an increasingly competitive jobs market. This comes as Accenture’s Girls in STEM research has shown that just 14% of girls plan to do an apprenticeship when they leave school, compared to 60% who plan to go to university.

Accenture’s Technology Apprenticeship programme

Accenture is committed to tackling the technology skills gap and ensuring young people have the opportunity to develop the specialist skills required to thrive in the digital economy. That’s why we developed our Technology Apprenticeship, a higher level apprenticeship programme that enables participants to complete a degree in digital and technology solutions over either 3 or 4 years. As a higher level programme, our offering gives participants particularly rigorous and high quality training.

The Technology Apprenticeship programme combines structured IT training with on-the-job learning. From day one, apprentices earn a salary while developing expert digital, web and cloud computing skills, as well as expertise in project management, application and infrastructure development and business analysis. Apprentices who successfully complete the programme and perform well will be offered permanent roles at Accenture.

Accenture’s scheme was launched at Accenture’s Delivery Centre in Newcastle 2012, and since then the programme has been extended to London, Manchester, Warwick and Newbury. The first cohort graduated in April 2016.

Accenture’s Girls In STEM campaign

Since 2015, Accenture has ran annual Girls In STEM events and alongside this has launched new research analysing the trends which are preventing young girls from studying STEM, or pursing a STEM career. The initiative sees the business campaign to help girls get interested in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.

It started in 2015 with 300 people in Newcastle, then expanded nationally to Newcastle, London, Manchester, Edinburgh and Dublin, attracting about 1500 girls in 2016. In 2017, it went international with more than 2000 girls attending across various events and on livestream.

Today’s GCSE results

While the popularity of the new combined Science GCSE is encouraging, we still need to do more to tackle the STEM skills gap. Looking at key subjects like Computing, Engineering, ICT, and Maths, the number of girls taking these subjects has dropped or remained stagnant. We believe that Government, businesses, and the education sector need to work together to dispel any misconceptions about STEM and show more young people how applicable these skills are for a whole range of jobs.

As they consider their career paths, we would encourage young people and their parents to remain open to the benefits of an apprenticeship, which will enable them to develop the specialist and practical skills required to thrive in the digital economy, while working towards a degree at the same time.

Damian Corneal, Apprenticeship Programme Lead, Accenture

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