The digital sector was given a boost today after a consultation on a new national strategy aimed at promoting the uptake of technology skills was published by the Scottish Government.
Industry leaders, educators and the public are being encouraged to respond to a draft strategy for developing STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) education and training across Scotland.
It outlines the Scottish Government’s future plans for the subjects and, for the first time, co-ordinates all of the work already underway to promote STEM skills across all age ranges and settings in one strategy.
The consultation document was officially launched by the Minister for Further and Higher Education and Science, Shirley-Anne Somerville, during a visit to Cargenbridge Primary School in Dumfries today.
“STEM knowledge and capability doesn’t just provide significant career opportunities for individuals, it ignites a passion for learning that helps our young people to develop the skills and confidence they need to succeed in whatever field they choose,” she said.
“The draft strategy published today sets out the steps we believe must be taken to improve current levels of enthusiasm for STEM subjects and encourage uptake of the specialist skills necessary to work in the ever-increasing STEM sectors of the economy.
“We know that improved STEM education and training can enhance opportunities for adults to progress and develop their skills which is why the strategy also outlines plans to ensure that the education and training we have on offer matches labour market need, both now and in the immediate future, while working to reduce gender gaps and improve attainment,” she said.
She added: “Scotland has a strong history of excellence and innovation in STEM but we cannot be complacent. Today I have set out our vision for the future but I would urge anyone with an interest to respond to this consultation. The future of STEM affects us all so please ensure your voice is heard, all ideas are welcome, the bolder the better.”
Professor Sheila Rowan, Chief Scientific Adviser for Scotland said:“Knowledge of STEM can make a huge difference to numeracy and digital skills. These are fundamental life skills that are increasingly important in today’s economy.
“I look forward to speaking to employers and others in the wider science sector about how we can best support the aims of this strategy and help increase STEM skills and confidence in people of all ages.”
Views are being sought from all those with an interest in the promotion of STEM with education providers, employers and parents being asked to consider how they think STEM skills and education could be improved and developed.
The Scottish Government will publish a report on the consultation in March 2017. The findings will inform a final version of the strategy for delivery.