Birmingham City Uni invests £10m in tackling Stem skills shortage

University injects cash into Stem subjects to help tackle skills shortage

Birmingham City University aims to tackle the science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) skills gap with a £10m investment in the subjects.

The cash will go towards new facilities at the university, such as laboratories for scientific and technological practice and research.

The university's vice-chancellor, Cliff Allan, said the investment shows the institution's determination to take serious action to ensure it delivers the education needed by young people, as well as the regional and national economy.

“Our university already has a long history of teaching science, technology and engineering, and is a powerful established force in contributing to the creative industries that make a multibillion-pound contribution to the UK economy,” he said.

The funding follows the university’s success in securing a £5m grant from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).

“We very much appreciate this £5m HEFCE grant investment that will allow us to deepen what we do now and develop new areas of expertise, in turn delivering a real boost to the education and training needs of our economy,” said Allan.

Earlier in 2014, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) called on the government to cut tuition fees for Stem courses. 

Government investment in digital skills

David Cameron recently laid out plans for a computer science GSCE in 2016, a National College for Digital Skills in 2015 and new training for 17,500 maths and physics teachers.

KPMG technology sector head Tudor Aw said the investment will help to produce the next Isaac Newton, Alan Turing and Stephen Hawking.

“The lack of sufficient resources in such key skills is a potential drag on the UK’s ability to establish itself as one of the top tech locations in the world. It is therefore vital we address this issue," he said.

“Plans to recruit 17,500 mathematics and physics teachers over the next five years and to open the UK’s first National College for Digital Skills is a step in the right direction."

Code the universal language of business

On the announcement, Sage UK and Ireland CTO Stuart Lynn said while a decade ago people thought Mandarin was the language needed to get ahead in business, they now realise the universal language of business is code. 

“It’s vital the next wave of entrepreneurs and business owners have a sound grounding in tech," he said. “Digital and tech is going to be the cornerstone of the UK workforce’s skillset for decades to come – so this investment from the government will go towards supporting future generations.

“More and more businesses will need expertise from coders, engineers and data analysts as the demand for digital practices grows beyond the realms of enterprise and big business.”

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