The USA, the UK and other countries are currently facing a skills gap surrounding STEM-based job roles; according to Engineering UK, each year the UK is producing only half the number of engineers with the right qualifications to fill nearly two million job openings expected by 2020 – let alone producing as many engineers as economic competitors in Asia.
Employers are looking to hire people with more advanced skills, especially in STEM fields, but job seekers are often struggling to figure out which skills they need and where they can learn them. In workplace learning, employers, are providing fewer opportunities for on-the-job training than they have in the past; yet, they are still looking to hire workers with skills and experience. What also seems important is the need to launch and -why not– establish collaboration between employers and educators so as to identify the skills they need to fill the jobs available and help map career pathways from entry-level to middle skill jobs and beyond.
As science, technology and engineering are powerful drivers of economic growth, it is critical to encourage more young people to opt for these subjects at school and university as it is equally critical to showcase STEM careers as an attractive option among the many choices offered to highly talented graduates. This is actually one of the goals of UMI-Sci-Ed: Exploring Ubiquitous, Mobile & Internet of Things in Science Education, funded by the European Commission in the context of Horizon 2020 calls (GA750183) (UMI-Sci-Ed Weblink,The UMI-Sci-Ed Platform .
Investigating the introduction of UMI technologies in education on STEM subjects and establishing Communities of Practice on the basis of supporting in a work based like environment European youngsters 14-16+ years old , has been seen as the major UMI-Sci-Ed partners’ challenge. By providing instructional design infrastructure for STEM based educational scenarios and space for on line collaboration among IT corporate specialists and European secondary teachers and students , UMI-Sci-Ed project carefully exploits state of the art technologies (UMI) to build STEM skills and train young students so as to become talented and skilful STEM future employees. Offering novel educational services, implementing innovative pedagogies and enhance students’ and teachers’ creativity, encouraging socialization and scientific citizenship are also important for the UMI-Sci-Ed rationale. Which skills are important for pursuing a STEM oriented career? In what ways company stakeholders could be involved in the effective tracing and development of these skills?