By Daniel Hunter
“The future of Britain’s burgeoning tech sector is dependent upon the careful nurturing of young talent and that needs to be both men and women,” said Scott Fletcher - chairman and founder of UK cloud infrastructure specialists ANS Group.
Mr Fletcher’s warning came in the wake of a statement from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IME) that the UK car industry needs to double the number of engineering recruits by 2020 if the industry is to be sustained at it current level.
“We need to increase the flow of young talent into tech and engineering industries and attracting more women is an obvious answer. Currently a large proportion of female Stem graduates (science, technical, engineering and mathematics) are choosing careers in other industries,” said Mr Fletcher.
A report published earlier this year by the Institute of Physics (IOP) found that half of all the co-ed schools in the UK did not put forward a single female student to sit an A-level in physics.
“It seems that Britain’s schools have pigeon holed physics as a ‘boys’ subject which is a notion that needs to be eradicated immediately,” said Mr Fletcher.
Philippa Oldham, head of manufacturing at IME, said: "At the moment there are 43,000 engineering student graduates per year but 40% of them aren't working in those roles … many have been lured to work in the financial sector."
“Providing on-the-job apprenticeship training is every bit as vital as finding tech and science graduates,” said Mr Fletcher. “We find time and time again that young people aren’t leaving school with the skills they need to begin a career in a tech industry.”
Scott Fletcher has been a consistent campaigner for reform of the way computing skills are taught to young people. His address to last year’s Knowledge & Innovation in Manchester Event concentrated on creating the correct environment of young talent to develop and grow through school, university and apprenticeships.
“The IT industry is obviously fluid and businesses need to re-invent themselves every few years. There is no sitting back on past glories in our industry and young talent is the essential fuel for that re-invention,” stated Fletcher.
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