Half of students and teachers ‘blind to science job options’

More than half of Irish students and almost as many of their teachers are blind to science and technology career opportunities, a study shows.

Research by Nestlé Ireland shows that 73% would consider a science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) career, but 59% said they knew little or nothing about the type of jobs that were on offer.

Nearly half of science and maths teachers in Ireland (46%) did not know what Stem businesses were looking for in recruits, and 45% of Stem Irish businesses did not believe there were enough young people studying Stem subjects to meet future demand.

The research, by Populus, involved interviewing 103 decision-makers at Irish Stem businesses, 100 science and maths teachers at secondary schools, and more than 300 students aged between 14 and 16.

In the region of 45% of businesses felt that Ireland was facing a worrying Stem skills crisis and there were not enough young people studying maths and science to meet future demand. More than half of businesses (51%) working in the field believe that there has been no improvement in the availability of appropriately-skilled recruits in the past five years.

Nestlé’s research shows that nearly three-quarters (73%) of 14 to 16 year olds said they would consider a career in a Stem industry. However, more than half (59%) said they knew little or nothing about the types of jobs that were on offer, with fewer females (37%) aware of career opportunities than males (45%).

Many science and maths teachers were also in the dark, with nearly half (46%) of those surveyed admitting that they did not know what Stem businesses were looking for in new recruits.

Deirdre O’Donoghue, country manager for Nestlé Ireland, said: “It is a promising sign that so many young people in Ireland would consider pursuing a career in a Stem-related industry. However, there is evidently a breakdown that needs to be addressed, as while young people are interested in Stem subjects at schools, the uptake of careers in these areas is low, with many saying they don’t know enough about the careers that are available.”


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