Businesses must encourage students to embrace STEM subjects, says Tata Consultancy HRD

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Employers must play a more active role alongside schools in getting more young people interested in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects, according to Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) HR director Nupur Singh Mallick (pictured).

Mallick said the UK needs a greater focus on the shortfall of workers with these key skills or it could prove "very costly" to UK economic growth.

She was speaking to HR magazine after a report, published by the Social Market Foundation, showed the UK economy will need about 104,000 STEM graduates every year until 2020. At present, there is a shortfall of 40,000 per annum.

Mallick said one of the reasons for this shortage comes from a "lack of innovation" in schools.

"The difference between the UK and a country such as India is most of the time the UK is creating users of technology and others are creating producers. So, from a very early age Indian students are taught skills such as programming, but UK students learn about software such as Excel and PowerPoint."

Good global citizens

To close the skills gap, more young people need to embrace STEM subjects, and Mallick said employers should "play a very important role in ensuring there is a pipeline of talent and as good global citizens they should do what they can to get children involved".

"With so much to do and so many different groups pushing for more investment and attention, it is time to drill down further. We should no longer just be talking about STEM skills in general, we need to focus resources on the right areas," Mallick said.

"There needs to be a focus on giving young people the most employable skills, that will give the UK the best chance of producing the skills needed to drive economic growth."

TCS has taken practical steps to support STEM skills across the world. The company is actively involved in a number of projects in the UK.

In the US. it has run IT summer camps, which expose young people to STEM related career paths.