News story

Over 2000 new jobs and apprenticeships from leading STEM organisations

New opportunities are part of an industry-led campaign launched by the Chancellor to inspire more young people to study maths and physics.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The Science Museum

The Science Museum will deliver a three-year exhibition that will inspire young people to think engineering could be for them. Image: Science Museum.

At the launch of a new campaign to boost participation in science, technology, engineering and maths (the ‘STEM’ subjects) at school and beyond, the government today welcomed over 170 leading businesses and institutions offering over 2,000 jobs and apprenticeships.

The campaign – called ‘Your Life’ – was launched by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Rt. Hon. George Osborne MP, and the leading organisations and entrepreneurs taking part in it.

The Chancellor was joined by Education Minister Liz Truss MP, Minister for Skills and Enterprise Matthew Hancock MP and Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Minister for Women, Nicky Morgan MP.

Organisations such as Google, Arup, L’Oreal, Microsoft, Ford, BP, BSkyB, Airbus, Balfour Beatty, Laing O’Rourke, IBM, Nestle, Samsung, the Science Museum and the Royal Academy of Engineering have pledged to do more to highlight the career opportunities open to those studying STEM subjects, committing to create over 2,000 new entry level positions including apprenticeships, graduate jobs or paid work experience posts.

The campaign will also have targeted advertising and a new scheme to boost the number of high-skilled science teachers alongside the pledges from businesses.

The advertising campaign will be spearheaded by Edwina Dunn, who co-created the Tesco Clubcard, and an independent board of eight entrepreneurs and advocates. They will transform the way young people think about maths and physics and the careers to which they lead.

In addition, top firms including Barclays, Tata Consulting and GlaxoSmithKline are also sponsoring a new scheme called ‘Maths and Physics Chairs’, to recruit post-doctoral graduates to become science and maths teachers injecting top-level expertise into schools with poor progression in these topics.

Last year the Chief Scientific Advisor at the Department for Business Innovation and Skills published a report calling on government to inspire more young people to take up engineering. The Perkins report identified the industry suffered misconceptions which deterred young people from pursuing careers in this field.

Subjects like maths and physics are also becoming more important, not just in science and engineering, for an increasing range of high paid careers in fields such as marketing, technology and design.

However, despite recent progress and growing numbers of young people taking GCSE physics and A-level maths, at age 16 there is a steep drop off; in physics the number falls from around 150,000 to 32,000 including just 7,000 girls choosing to study the subject.

George Osborne said:

Backing growth in sectors such as science, tech and engineering are part of our long term plan to deliver economic security and sustainable growth for a more resilient economy.

This campaign, which brings together some of Britain’s best businesses, institutions and government, will help inspire young people into jobs in these exciting sectors that are essential to our economic prosperity.

Education Minister Elizabeth Truss added:

Rising numbers of people are taking maths and physics A-levels – but it is still very low. Too many teenagers, especially girls, don’t realise that maths and physics get you everywhere. They have the highest earnings and can open doors to careers in business, journalism, technology, engineering - in fact anything you can probably think of.

That’s why I am so delighted that entrepreneurs like Sarah Wood and Edwina Dunn have agreed to lead this drive to show young people, especially girls, how science and maths have helped them to make it big.

I’m also very pleased to see some of the UK’s top businesses showing their commitment by signing the ‘Your Life’ call to action and committing to recruit more science and maths students. Together we can ensure young people have the skills they need to succeed in life and help the UK compete on a global scale.

Skills and Enterprise Minister Matthew Hancock said:

There has never been a greater focus from government on inspiring people, especially women and girls, to take up science, technology, engineering and maths. STEM disciplines are the heartbeat of the modern world. From agriculture to aviation, the analytical and problem-solving skills they develop are more valuable than ever in a fast-changing, global economy.

I’m delighted that 170 leading organisations are joining us in our commitment to inspiring more women and girls to take up study and training in these areas, particularly with their pledges for new apprenticeships. These kinds of high quality apprenticeship places will offer people the skills they need for an exciting and productive career and give businesses the workforce they need to grow.

Energy and Climate Change Minister Baroness Verma said:

This campaign is an important step in guaranteeing diversity within STEM. My personal commitment is to ensure that 30% of energy company executive board members are female by 2030. Later this year, I will launch POWERful Women – an initiative which will endeavour to make this important goal a reality.

Dr Angela Strank, BP Group, Chief Scientist added:

Science and engineering are essential drivers of business success across the UK, including BP, and offer the most exciting and rewarding career opportunities in many sectors.

To stay at the leading edge of business and industry on an increasingly competitive the global stage, we need to attract as many young men and women as possible to pursue careers in these subjects.

It is particularly important that we increase the number of female students who will become the great engineers, technologists and business leaders of the future, and BP greatly welcomes this very important initiative.

Edwina Dunn, Dunnhumby co-founder and Your Life Chair said:

For businesses and our economy, science, maths and technology skills are an urgent requirement. For people choosing their path in life, they represent enormous opportunity - to pioneer the technologies of the future, to innovate and to make the most of their potential, talent and creativity.

This is about more than career paths but, your choice of A levels is a great place to start. And that’s why I’m so pleased to be involved in the important Your Life campaign.

Find out more about Your Life

Further information

The call to action has been signed by over 170 businesses, universities, schools and professional organisations who have committed to a range of actions to increase participation.

Pledges include:

  • L’Oreal will commit to £155,000 in fellowships and support for female scientists for the next two years
  • Airbus will commit to recruiting circa 25% women engineers as a priority for this year
  • Arup doubling the proportion of female apprentices to 30% by 2030
  • GE increasing the number of science and technology ambassadors to 500 by 2015 (aiming for 30% of these to be women)
  • BP to launch a new employee volunteering web based tool in Summer 2014 to reach 10,000 employees, enabling them to engage with 190 schools
  • Microsoft to train and mentor 180 female undergraduates over the next 12 months
  • Royal Holloway, University of London will launch a Department of Engineering and new Electronic Engineering degree programme, opening in 2017, designed from the outset to be female-friendly
  • The Science Museum will deliver a three-year exhibition that will inspire young people to think engineering could be for them

Full details of the call to action will be available at

Statistics show the huge importance and value of the sciences, maths, engineering and technology to young people’s career earning and prospects, and the UK economy:

  • On average, students who take A level maths earn up to 10% more than similarly skilled workers who do not have the qualification
  • Science and engineering degrees also lead to very high earnings – those working in science or technological careers are paid, on average, 19% more than other jobs
  • Science has become increasingly important across all sectors of the UK economy with 5.8 million people – 20% of the UK’s workforce - employed in science-based roles, this is expected to rise to 7.1 million by 2030
  • Engineering enterprises employ over 5.4 million people and manufacturing accounts for more than 50% of the UK’s exports

“Your Life” is the latest initiative by government to raise standards in science, maths and technology and drive up participation in the sector. Earlier actions include:

  • Updating science, maths, computing and design and technology curricula to ensure the next generation can compete in the global economy
  • Recruiting more top maths and science graduates to increase quality of teaching
  • Providing £11 million to fund 30 new maths hubs to drive up quality of maths teachers and ensure schools are learning from the best
  • Training 400 master teachers in computer science to share best practice and help implement the Government’s new forward-thinking curriculum
  • Requiring 16-19 year olds who don’t achieve a C at GCSE maths to continue studying maths
  • Introducing the new Core Maths qualification from 2015 for 16-18 year olds to give thousands more young people the chance to continue studying the subject
  • A £400 million capital investment – a £200 million fund from government matched by universities on at least a one-to-one basis; this will boost our national university infrastructure and allow science and engineering departments to provide world-class facilities and teaching for students

A new publicity drive led by successful British entrepreneurs will be launched in September 2014 to change the way 14-16 year olds think about science and technology, and to encourage more to pursue it as a career.

These entrepreneurs will help develop an advertising campaign to inform young people about the earning power and wide range of careers available to science, maths and technology graduates. They include:

  • Edwina Dunn – Dunnhumby and Your Life Chair
  • Sarah Wood – Unruly
  • Dr Melanie Windridge – Physicist and Science Commentator
  • Eben Upton – Raspberry Pi
  • Sherry Coutu – Entrepreneur and Angel Investor
  • Belinda Parmar – CEO, Lady Geek
  • Roma Agrawal – Structural Engineer
  • Dr Ben Boyes – Engineer, Astrium UK
  • Ruth Amos- Engineer and Entrepreneur

The ‘Maths and Physics Chairs’ programme is a new teacher recruitment scheme sponsored by business to attract post-doctoral university graduates into teaching.

Businesses will fund training and benefits packages for each chair, who will be placed in areas with poor progression in science and technology subjects. They will then use their expertise to raise standards and encourage 16-18 year olds to go on to study maths and physics at university and get jobs in those sectors.

Businesses and institutions involved

  • 3M
  • Airbus
  • Atkins
  • Arup
  • AMEC
  • BAE Systems
  • Balfour Beatty
  • Barclays
  • Bechtel
  • Bombardier Aerospace (NI)
  • BMW
  • BP
  • BT
  • British Glass
  • BSkyB
  • Burnham Grammar School
  • Carillion
  • Capgemini
  • Cisco
  • Crossrail
  • Delphi
  • Dow
  • D-NEG (Double Negative Visual Effects)
  • E-skills
  • EnQuest
  • Facebook
  • Finmeccanica
  • Food and Drink Federation
  • Ford
  • GE
  • Goldman Sachs
  • Google
  • GSK
  • Hitachi
  • Hutchison Whampoa
  • IBM
  • Intel
  • Imagination Technologies
  • Jaguar Land Rover
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Kano
  • Laing O’Rourke
  • Lloyds Banking Group
  • Lonza Biologics Plc
  • Lotus
  • L’Oreal
  • MACE
  • Microsoft
  • National Grid
  • Nationwide Building Society
  • National Nuclear Lab
  • Nestle UK & Ireland
  • Network Rail
  • NHS England
  • Nissan
  • Rolls-Royce
  • RBS
  • Samsung
  • SAS
  • Sellafield Ltd
  • Selex ES
  • Shell
  • Skanska
  • Swiftkey
  • S2D2 (pivogo academy)
  • Tata Consulting
  • Tech UK
  • Telereal Trilium
  • Thames Tideway Tunnel
  • UBS
  • UKIE (Association for Interactive Entertainment)
  • US Embassy
  • Veolia
  • Women in Nuclear (WiN UK)
  • Women in Rail
  • Aircelle
  • At-Bristol
  • 157 Group
  • AoC
  • AELP
  • Apps for Good
  • Association of Maintained Girls Schools
  • Aston University
  • Barking and Dagenham College
  • British Computer Society
  • British Science Association
  • Cardiff University School of Physics and Astronomy
  • Career Academies
  • CASE
  • CBI
  • Centre of the Cell
  • Centre for Alternative Technology
  • Chichester College
  • Dynamic Earth
  • Education and Employers Taskforce (EET)
  • Edinburgh International Science Festival
  • EEF
  • Engineering UK
  • Engineering Council
  • Eureka! The National Children’s Museum
  • Explora Science
  • Girls’ Day School Trust (GDST)
  • Glasgow Science Centre
  • Government Office for Science (Go Science)
  • Hastings Borough Council
  • Hays Recruitment
  • ICE
  • IchemE
  • IET
  • ImechE
  • Imperial College London
  • International Centre for Life
  • Inspiring the Future
  • Institute of Physics
  • Jodrell Bank
  • Look Out Discovery Centre
  • Museum of East Anglian Life
  • Met Office
  • MBDA
  • MyKindaCrowd
  • NCUB
  • National Space Centre
  • Oxford Brookes University
  • Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering
  • Queen Mary University of London
  • RAEng
  • Redcar & Cleveland College
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Royal Institution
  • Royal Observatory Greenwich
  • Royal Society
  • Science Alive
  • Science Made Simple
  • Science Learning Centres
  • Science Made Simple
  • Science Museum
  • Sciencegrrl
  • Skipton Girls High School – an engineering academy
  • Somerset College of Arts and Technology
  • Stemettes
  • Stemnet
  • Stylist magazine
  • Techniquest
  • Techniquest Glyndwr
  • TeenTech
  • The Oxford Trust, Science Oxford
  • ThinkTank Birmingham Science Museum
  • UK Association for Science and Discovery Centres
  • University Alliance
  • Universitites UK
  • University College London (UCL)
  • University of Birmingham
  • University of Bradford
  • University of Bristol
  • University of Cambridge
  • University of Manchester
  • University of Oxford
  • University of Sheffield
  • University of Southampton
  • University of Warwick - Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG)
  • Ursuline High School
  • W5 at Odyssey
  • WES (Women’s Engineering Society)
  • Wellcome Trust
  • Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute
  • WISE (Women in Science and Engineering)
  • Works Management
  • CaSE
  • Explora Science Technology and Discovery Centre
  • Science Alive
  • Our Dynamic Earth
  • Edinburgh International Sceicne Festival
  • Centre of the Cell
  • Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute
  • Techniquest
  • W5 at Odyssey
  • Cardiff Univerisyt School of Physics and Astronomy
  • Royal Observatory
  • St Helens College
  • North Nottinghamshire College
  • ARM
  • Womens Security Society
  • Qinetiq
  • Women in Security
  • Cyber Security Challenge
Published 7 May 2014