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Young people deem maths most valuable for career prospects

Posted 1 March 2018 · Add Comment

A quarter of 14 to 18-year olds said they would rather follow in the footsteps of innovator Mark Zuckerberg (23%) or tech genius Bill Gates (28%) for careers over household names such as Ed Sheeran (17%), David Beckham (9%) and Kylie Jenner (9%), according to research from BAE Systems.

Above: BAE Systems 2018 schools roadshow launch.

The study has uncovered a surprising shift in perception of STEM among young people, revealing over half of 14 to 18-year-olds (56%) deem maths to be the most valuable subject for future career prospects, followed by English (50%) and science (42%). Two thirds (62%) of those currently studying STEM have also said they are likely to carry these subjects over to University.
The findings have been released as BAE Systems, the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy come together again to launch this year’s nationwide Schools Roadshow. Alongside The Royal Academy’s #ThisIsEngineering campaign, the roadshow, now in its thirteenth year, aims to inspire and instil excitement among school pupils around STEM, in the largest ever schools programme of its kind.
This year’s Schools Roadshow focuses on maths, with a series of workshops and demonstrations to showcase various applications of the subject, from robotics and coding through to the use of maths in iPhone technology and even magic.
The study’s findings could be attributed to the increase in the number of STEM advocates in the public eye in recent years, as the top ten people 14 to 18-year-olds are most inspired by, when thinking of their future career, are revealed as:

    Bill Gates (28%)
    Mark Zuckerberg (23%)
    Steve Jobs (22%)
    Professor Brian Cox (18%)
    Ed Sheeran (17%)
    Tim Peake and Jessica Ennis (both 14%)
    Zoella (12%)
    Jennifer Lawrence and Beyonce (both 11%)
    Jeff Bezos (10%)
    Kylie Jenner and David Beckham (both 9%)

Not only are young people starting to see the value of STEM for their future career, maths is also unveiled to be the most enjoyable subject (45%), followed by English (40%) and science (39%), while media studies was the least enjoyable (9%).  
Richard Hamer, BAE Systems’ Education and Early Careers Director, says: “It is great to see more young people considering a degree or career in STEM and becoming more aware of the exciting opportunities available to them through these subjects. At BAE Systems, our engineers work in a variety of different roles, from designing submarines for the Royal Navy, to developing innovative virtual reality technology for leading athletes to improve performance or even working on wearable tech for the British Army and the latest fighter jets for the Royal Air Force. Initiatives like the Schools Roadshow are so important, especially as this is the Year of Engineering, to ensure we continue to excite young minds and inspire the next generation of scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians.”
Commenting on the roadshow, Captain Dave Joyce of the Royal Navy said: “The Royal Navy is delighted to be supporting the BAE Systems education roadshow again in 2018. Science, technology, engineering and maths are vital skills underpinning both our technologically-advanced navy and the UK economy as a whole. Making these subjects fun and interesting at school is essential to ensure that children are keen to become the engineers and technicians of the future.”
Air Commodore Peter Squires of The Royal Air Force added: “As we approach the 100th Anniversary of the formation of the Royal Air Force, we remain committed to enthusing and inspiring young people to work hard at maths and science in school and to raising their awareness of the exciting future opportunities available to those with STEM skills. We are proud to celebrate our 10th year of partnership in the Schools Roadshow Programme and we look forward to continued collaboration with BAE Systems and the Royal Navy in our shared endeavour to enable both boys and girls to fulfil their potential.”   
Now in its thirteenth year, the Schools Roadshow, BAE Systems’ flagship education programme, will be heading to 420 schools in 2018, reaching 95,000 young people.

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