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Young people have 'appetite' for STEM skills, says TCS HRD

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Young people are interested in learning STEM subjects but don't always have the opportunities to, according to Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) UK & Ireland HR director Nupur Singh Mallick.

Mallick was commenting on the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) 2014 IET Skills Survey. The poll of over 400 engineering and IT staff revealed 59% of companies believe a lack of available engineers will be a threat to their business in the coming year.

Additionally, 41% of organisations plan to recruit engineering, IT or technical staff across the next year, up 5% from 2013. But there is a disconnect between the skills STEM students leave school with and the experience employers value.

Almost one-third (30%) of employers don't believe school leavers have sufficient practical experience, while 25% report young people lack technical skills.

Mallick, who was this year shortlisted for HR director of the year in the HR Excellence Awards, told HR magazine the results show that "business and schools need to come together to counteract this worrying trend".

"To achieve this we not only have to change the structure of education to introduce STEM-based lessons, but fundamentally change the mindset to technology as a whole," she said.

But she added that young people in the UK are engaged with STEM subjects, it's just a case of giving them solid opportunities.

"We’ve found there is great appetite for STEM subjects among youngsters – they just need to be presented with more opportunities to get involved," she said. "Not taking the necessary steps now could put the UK and its young people at risk of being left behind, as demand for these skills will only continue to increase.”