At a conference on November 26th 2013, hosted by the European Commission, it outlined its approach to Smart Cities. It launched its Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP) for Smart Cities and Communities. This can be downloaded from here.
The Commission has formed a European Innovation Partnership (EIP) to steer this initiative made up of key European players in developing smart cities and they have had a major input into this plan. There were many speakers at the event but two key messages resonated:
• The need for citizens to be at the heart of Smart City initiatives
• The time has come for the end of pilot projects – there is a need for large scale replicable projects across Europe.
This EIP strive for a ‘triple bottom line’ gain for Europe: a significant improvement of citizens’ quality of life, an increased competitiveness of Europe’s industry and innovative SMEs together with a strong contribution to sustainability and the EU’s 20/20/20 energy and climate targets. This will be achieved through the wide-reaching roll out of integrated, scalable, sustainable Smart City solutions – specifically in areas where energy production, distribution and use; mobility and transport; and information and communication technologies are intimately linked.
So what are the key points to this plan?
• The Commission intends to make available approximately EUR 200 million for Smart Cities and communities in the 2014-2015 budgets of the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, with more to come in future years.
• This, for once, is a co-ordinated initiative across a number of Directorates as it focuses on the ICT, energy and mobility overlap, i.e. the area where smart cities come into their own – the joining up.
• They are also keen for projects to access the European Structural and Investment Funds.
• The aim is to stimulate large scale role out of replicable solutions across the EU.
• The major element of the SIP is to propose ‘Lighthouse projects’.
What are Lighthouse Projects?
The Plan sees them as ‘Initiatives that bring together groups of cities with industry and innovative SMEs from the ICT, energy and mobility & transport sector to deliver common Smart City solutions thus creating scale and reducing risk for political decision makers as well as investors, to progressively support wider implementation across the EU as well as showcasing the competitiveness of European industry and innovative SMEs’. It sees them working to integrate technologies across the ICT, energy and mobility & transport sector achieving for instance advances in
• ‘zero/plus’ energy districts,
• increased use of alternative energies,
• public transport and efficient logistics,
• or green, widely available ICTs and multiple-use infrastructures
These are seen as significant projects both in size but also in effectiveness.
Other Aspects of the Plan
Whilst lighthouse projects are what a number of European Cities are already chasing, there are other aspects including:
• Developing and applying new business and financial models and public-private partnerships that combine industry with public investments to promote Smart Cities.
• Advance Smart City open standards through a Smart City coordination group.
• Develop infrastructure platforms and common architectures for smart city information.
• Promoting an “open data by default” culture change within public and private actors.
• A framework to develop citizen insight.
• 100 short term staff exchanges between cities, industries and relevant NGOs to crowd-source the best ideas (to begin in 2014).
• Promote the implementation of collaborative, integrated smart city planning (city planning forums) and operation, that maximise city-wide data to deliver more agile processes; employing modern multi-criteria simulation and visualisation tools.
The obvious candidate for following this up in the West Midlands is Birmingham Smart City. With the work of the Smart City Commission; the Carbon Road map and the Birmingham Mobility Action plan much of the policy framework is in place and what it needs now is money. This initiative, especially through the Lighthouse projects, may provide some of that. That is not, however, to exclude other Cities and communities in the West Midlands who may find routes into this programme.
There is a briefing and potential partner matching session in Brussels via the ERRIN network on December 13th 2013. Short notice I know, but worth attending to put ourselves on the map. The West Midlands is still a member of ERRIN via the Birmingham and West Midlands Brussels office so it is my understanding that partners from the region can attend this. Good to check with ERRIN and the Brussels office first.
For more information on the Smart Cities and Communities EIP http://ec.europa.eu/eip/smartcities/
European Policy and Urban Affairs Adviser
Research and development need not always be complex and expensive. R and D Tax Credits can make a great difference to your company’s financial development and innovation potential.
Our government has continued the last administration’s commitments in providing tax credit opportunities to innovative enterprises. To date, this has helped businesses carrying out R and D to the total tune of £5.6bn. Yet, there is often reticence by many companies to claim the corporation tax help for which they are eligible. Each company will have its reasons for applying or not applying. However, there are common misconceptions about viability that we hope to challenge in this blog:
Myth 1: You’ll need to do ‘never-done-before’ R and D
Fact: Eligibility doesn’t mean brand new R and D
To claim, you don’t have to come up up with completely new R and D. Unless a company’s knowledge has been in the public domain, any duplication of research and development may well still qualify. This marks a change from the original R and D tax credit scheme rules.
Myth 2: Applications are relatively easy, reflecting the fact that you can only get small amounts of money
Fact: Tax credits need not be peppercorn.
Credits claimed may be substantial. Making a claim and qualifying is not an onerous process, but this does not mean peppercorn sums. For example, under some circumstances, the tax credits released on a company’s qualifying expenditure can be as much as 56%.
Myth 3: It’s for large companies
Fact: The R and D Tax credit scheme is designed as a workable SME alternative to the R and D tax relief scheme for larger businesses.
Size often matters in terms of a company’s ability to do R and D. But so does context. Given that we are not necessarily talking about needing groundbreaking research to qualify, or the employment of additional scientists and technologists, or hefty expenditure on laboratories and equipment, the scheme is designed to fit comfortably into the operations of small and medium-sized businesses.
(Image: http://www.fotolalia.com )
So having established a few vital truths, how is the viability of a claim decided?
The activity has to be for a project that attempts to:
- Advance the level of knowledge in a field of science/technology and
- Resolve scientific or technological uncertainty
This is a very broad definition, so it can also help to remember that:
- Only part of a project may be thought of as ‘difficult’ R&D but frequently large routine elements will also qualify if they are essential to proving the R&D
- You do not need to share that information with anyone else in the industry
- Success of the project is not essential
R&D costs eligible for the incentive are as follows:
- Staffing costs – including salary, national insurance costs, pension contributions
- Consumable and transformable materials – materials consumed/transformed in the R&D process, as well as software used directly in the R&D
- Limited overhead payments for power, fuel and water
- Externally provided workers, including agency staff and sub-contractors
(Image: http://www.rgbstock.com )
If your claim fits the above criteria, you may well be in with a good chance of a successful claim. You may think that your R and D is what you do in your ordinary workaday life, but these workaday activities could well be worth many thousands of pounds in saved or reclaimed corporation tax.
Phil is an Associate at Business Solutions ( http://www.bsmidlands.co.uk ) and a member of Birmingham Science City’s Digital Working Group
The legacy of Birmingham’s noble history of invention, entrepreneurship and manufacture provide the foundations for the future. However, approaches to stimulating its 21st Century economy need to be creative to address the needs and ways of today’s economies and societal norms.
One of the biggest drivers for innovation today is the knowledge economy and its intimate linkage to digital technologies. New industries have been created based on intangible products and services, and as these technologies mature they are increasingly being applied in more traditional businesses. As such ICT is a valuable and successful standalone sector, but it is also an ever increasing driver of innovation across all sectors and needs to be recognised as such.
National and local innovation and growth strategies are focusing on key sectors, business support, skills and access to finance. All are issues in their own right, but in reality they are components of a complex and interactive ecology. As a consequence, strengthening one component in isolation just moves the factor limiting successful growth to another component.
In order to strengthen the ecology, holistic interventions need to be cognisant of implications for the whole, not delivered as separate components that generate imbalance. Interventions, whether public or private sector led, cannot be directed at short term out-puts, gratification or returns; in such a dynamic environment delivery must be achieved in a sustainable, additive and supportive manner that can move to reflect prevailing needs.
Success in terms of Darwinian evolution determines that it is those most fit for the prevailing conditions that will prosper; this means decisions about component levels that change the local enterprise environment will in themselves drive selection.
For example, lack of skills and expertise in a local community will mean companies requiring those skills either adapt or die. They can adapt by bringing the necessary skills in from outside the region by relocating staff or by utilising today’s digital connectivity to work with remote skills, or they can train up their own people. A longer-term intervention would be to provide targeted skills sets through the educational system.
Birmingham needs its knowledge economies to thrive so we need to promote environments that enable them to operate in a networked, horizontal manner. This city’s very size is a strength in a knowledge-based economy, but at the same time it is a weakness. The necessary horizontal connections are harder to secure, simply due to the societal and physical complexity of the city. Even in a world where distance is far less of a barrier than it has ever been, local relationships are still required; people want to interact and serendipity is far more likely to flourish when regular face time is an organic occurrence. As is widely quoted, ‘innovation is a contact sport’.
Birmingham must grab hold of the innovators who dream up winning ideas in their academic laboratories, corporate offices, homes or garden sheds and show them that the most rapid and effective way to translate their concepts into commercial reality is to become immersed in a driven community of the like-minded. It is in this context that Birmingham requires ‘urban innovation engines’ to trigger, generate, nurture and so catalyse economic growth in the city.
Birmingham already has a number of focal points, beacons: physical locations within the city that pull together communities, such as the Innovation Birmingham Campus. Here, digital and tech entrepreneurs rub shoulders with their gaming, media, medtech, low carbon and built environment counterparts, along with the professional service providers and supportive services. Consequently, they drive forward their novel ideas, business opportunities and innovate.
More open innovation and cross-fertilisation between our talented entrepreneurs will happen once the different enterprise hubs work more closely together. So, we need to link the businesses on our Campus with businesses in the other beacons of sector-specific communities such as Fazeley Studios, the Custard Factory, Birmingham Research Park and the Longbridge Technology Park; with locations such as Millennium Point and the Library of Birmingham and the city’s universities. Then you have a truly connected knowledge economy and a Smart city.
A critical next step, to further widen the effects, is to connect existing SMEs around Greater Birmingham into these innovation ecologies and help them ‘know what they don’t know’ and so drive innovation.
These SMEs may also be from the knowledge economies, but the real opportunities will be derived from connecting new and old economy businesses. It will drive access to new markets, maximising opportunities arising from our excellent track record of attracting inward investment. It will also further boost our export performance, generate or accelerate new growth in established businesses and create opportunities for start-ups.
Successful beacons are those where management actively engages and understands clients’ needs, and where there is – at the same time – intimate engagement with local economies. Successful beacons understand and build on legacy strengths and help to create complete innovation ecologies. As such, they are very different from general office offerings.
This holistic approach generates local clusters of businesses; the locations are then beacons where next generation entrepreneurs know they can locate to, to mix with expertise and experience and like-minded people in an actively managed ecology, and so gain benefit and more rapidly deliver their businesses.
So where do talented entrepreneurs currently find such holistic support? The unfortunate answer is that – although a plethora of support is available – it tends to be accessed by the small minority of businesses who are already ‘in the system’. The lack of clarity in the local offering means that many businesses do not find their way into the innovation ecology and so miss out on potential growth to the detriment of the local economy and jobs market.
It seems obvious that Public Sector business support should be simplified, and that a focus on the Enterprise Beacons is a way forward such that they become the access points for this support. In doing this, we take a major step towards addressing the current lack of clarity in such offerings, helping unpack the complexities and drive awareness.
The nature of these beacon-based communities is that they will provide automatic signposting to the support, largely delivered by word-of-mouth from the converted – those that have already benefited from public funding – to those needing it. This is nothing new, the SMART Awards offered by the then Department of Trade and Industry in the 1990s were delivered locally, and previous winners were used to market the offering to the next generation of applicants. The result was a fully subscribed programme and a sense of local pride in achieving an award as a result of the local recognition.
By engaging at the coal face of the city’s entrepreneurial vein, these funds would be readily accessed in a much more timely fashion, and so address the urgency of the start-up and SME needs. Whilst it is important to recognise that a new venture’s market will be global, in the early days its business needs will require very local engagement.
For inward investment and marketing, the Birmingham tech-brand also benefits from the beacon approach. Recognising these beacons provides the visible evidence of what is already happening in the city, and provides tangible activity on which to base the marketing of the city as a true tech-cluster.
Successful economies exude confidence. False confidence can be delivered through marketing a brand without substance, one without a complete ecology, but knowledge communities establishing in such environs will soon falter and dissipate and the economic benefit will stall. New industries have been developed out of informal discussions literally for centuries but they only become an economic success when the entrepreneurs have stopped talking and started doing.
Birmingham’s streets and coffee shops are as good as those in London or any of the other core cities. We have many examples of highly successful world-leading tech companies in this city – they show it can be done. Indeed, there are over 3,000 tech-companies with a Birmingham postcode. Birmingham has a digital knowledge economy so where is our confidence?
The connected economy approach links the beacons to the existing SMEs and larger corporates in the region providing the magnets with which to attract inward investment. We have exemplified substance behind the marketing campaigns we now need a range of city stakeholders to become actively involved; connecting, communicating collaborating; the reality is developing a digital economy is not a spectator sport………………. so let’s do it.
Dr David Hardman
CEO of Innovation Birmingham
You’ve been developing a great idea that you think will help to solve a societal challenge. You’ve spotted an opportunity, but you want to make sure that you understand the market before diving in and committing a large helping of time and money. Excellent! Please read on.
Here, at Birmingham Science City, we keep an eye out for connections and resources that can help you to make things happen. You will probably have heard of the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI, for short), but you might have passed it by. We’d urge you to take another look, as it’s a highly accessible and useful scheme for the innovation-minded.
A few important points of clarification…
SBRI is there to help you develop commercialisable solutions rather than engage in ‘pure’ research.
It’s not only for ‘small businesses’ -although it’s very suitable for SMEs. The ‘small’ refers to the funding of small but important steps between concept to commercialisation. So, as long as you can show potential to commercialise your successful ideas, you can be from the public, private and third sectors (including universities) or be a consortium containing one or more of these.
Lastly, it enables innovators to address public sector delivery challenges affecting our everyday lives. You may deliver real and widespread social and economic impact in what you will develop. You’ll be developing resources that could be purchased by local authorities, NHS trusts and educational establishments throughout the UK.
Will I need lots of match funding?
No. Indeed, you may not need any. Financially, winners can access funding for development contracts of up to £100K or 100% eligible costs. So you will not necessarily need much in the way of money to enter the competition.
What’s the focus in the current round?
(Image from Engineering and Technology Magazine)
Future Cities and, particularly, the use of Open Data to develop data or energy or transport/ mobility solutions.
What happens and what do I do now?
You’ll enter a two-staged competition. You apply, this August, to win resources for a feasibility study (Phase 1). If successful, you’ll start it in November 2013. Once you’ve performed your study you’ll be eligible for a second competition round (Phase 2). Here you will pitch for a chance to test out your ideas in practice (applying in early June 2014). If you win a second stage award, you’ll start working with a city that will offer itself as a free testbed for your idea in August 2014.
Registration for Phase 1 closes on 7th August (noon) and the application deadline is on 14th August (noon). Please don’t be phased by timescales- remember that you’re applying to resource a feasibility study, initially, so you need a good concept and proposal, not proven answers and a masterplan.
Prepare well and concisely. SBRIs have been running for a number of years, so the teams involved have tried their best to make the process swift and user-friendly. The competition and application criteria, process and form are clear and concise, and can be found here (Click the purple box that says ‘Register and Apply’). Also, to get a good background grasp of the priorities of the Future Cities round, download and read Solutions for Cities.
What is the scope of the competition? Do I have the right expertise?
You need to address one of the three Future Cities challenges. These are:
-Develop a data platform for power and heat usage with sufficient granularity to identify community trends and individual usage patters in both domestic and commercial buildings.
-Develop a non-proprietary, generic and open-source city management platform solution that can connect disparate data sets and data sources that exist within a city.
-Develop a scalable, on demand mobility solution to help employees or visitors reach businesses within a city.
Note: Open data is the raw resource, but how you use it is up to you.
Can I pick a city?
(Image from http://www.itproportal.com)
You’ll be careful matched to the city that best suits your innovative ideas. A number of cities around the UK have succeeded in being granted testbed status. You may or may not be allocated the city nearest to you. But this should, I am told, not matter. If you are chosen, you’ll have demonstrated criteria for scalability and replicability. Being a competition winner, you’ll have the IP to take away with you to use wherever you wish.
Wishing for your success…
As part of the Common Purpose Meridian course, which is aimed at cross-sector leaders, a group of participants from a wide variety of organisations, took part in an “Understanding Change” module on the theme of “Passion and Resonance.”
The objective for the session was two-fold, to give participants insight into a different field, ie science and technology, and to consider the leadership skills and behaviors needed, to not only demonstrate passion but to be able to resonate with different stakeholders.
Below are the thoughts of the participants after the session, which included a context-setting session with Dr Pam Waddell, of Birmingham Science City which took place at the Innovation Birmingham Campus and visits to the European Bioenergy Research Institute at Aston University, the Digital Heritage Demonstrator Project, University of Birmingham and the Aston University Engineering Academy.
The participants thoroughly enjoyed their insight into science and technology and the opportunity to think more about the potential impacts for not just the city but for society as a whole.
“It is clear that there is a great amount of science and technology innovation going on in the city. The question is whether the link between the innovators and the private sector is strong enough. The people we met on our visits had a plan for wider industry engagement and were clear about its critical impact. It is crucial for the growth and development of the city as well as the growth and development of young people and talent within the city.
“Innovation should be at the heart of the government education agenda. Turning your back on new ideas is quite cancerous. We should be open to innovation and nurture them rather than ignoring them even though it will take time to demonstrate the tangible benefit for investors and early adopters. To really make progress, science and technology and particularly innovation, needs to be made more accessible.
“There is a skills gap at the moment but inclusivity and engagement with young people could increase interaction with science and innovation not just during school but throughout life after education. Does the lack on inclusivity at the moment mean we are missing skills at grass root levels? How do we make sure that this does not happen? Partnership work between colleges/school and business is clearly key in ensuring that the skills gap is closed, talent is harness and nurtured and our future innovators have the support to grow.
“Ultimately, the potential commercial gain is exciting and it is important to harness that creative talent. One way to harness this talent is through partnerships as demonstrated, for example, by the work done at Innovation Birmingham Campus.”
For more information about Common Purpose, visit www.commonpurpose.org.uk or contact Louise Teboul on firstname.lastname@example.org
Continuing to support and stimulate business growth through innovation, the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) recently set out its delivery plan for the year ahead. We have had a look at their plans and this blog has been written to provide a snapshot of their priorities and an overview of some of the key resources and opportunities that will be available to you.
With a total budget of £440m for the 2013-2014 financial year, TSB will be committing £300m worth of opportunities, through 75 competitions.
Recognising the enormous potential that SMEs, in particular, play in the commercialisation of innovation, TSB will continue to provide a number of opportunities, including the following resources:
These will help businesses to look outside their existing networks to find the knowledge they need to increase their chances of commercialising innovation.
These will help single businesses to assess the commercial viability of their projects.
These 100% grants will help businesses to engage with the public sector consumer and customer.
KTPs will enable businesses to access the knowledge of specialists through partnerships with universities.
Key Themes and Priorities
Thematic strands for the 2013-2014 year will include:
Energy… obtaining up to £35m for business-led projects and missions, and £10m for the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, focusing on sustainability, security and affordability of supply.
Resource Efficiency … receiving up to £8m for competitions, special interest groups and missions. Emphasis will be on substituting at-risk and high-environmental-impact materials; resource life-cycles; and reducing material use and energy intensity.
Built Environment… opportunities offering up to £16m to business -led projects, and £10m for the Future Cities Catapult, prioritising systems integration, systems users and designed performance.
Food…seeing up to £14m committed to business-led projects, with engineering solutions, integrated farming systems and measurement technologies being priorities.
Transport… seeing business-led projects, studies and workshops receive up to £35m between them, and £10m going to the new Transport Systems Catapult. Funds will be distributed enable to exploration of integrated transport systems, low-carbon vehicles, rail systems, marine vessel efficiency and aerospace.
Health…remaining a key priority with a £68m budget dedicated to activities, the Cell Therapy Catapult and the Biomedical Catalyst. Priorities will include disease detection, prevention and management; tailored treatments for disease; and progress towards potential cures for diseases.
High Value Manufacturing (HVM)… receiving up to £63m for the HVM Catapult, collaboration competitions, Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, special interest groups and building links with China. Priorities will include resource efficiency, manufacturing systems and processes, new business models and the integration of new materials.
Digital Economy… having £37m dedicated to competitions, and £10m going to the Connected Digital Economy Catapult. Priorities lie in exploiting data, new value models, resilient and interoperable digital systems and linking services to customers.
Enabling Technologies… focusing on challenge-based, cross-sector collaborations in areas such as robotics and autonomous systems, advanced materials, biosciences, electronics, sensors, photonics and ICT. Up to £30m will be dedicated to activities in these areas.
Space Application… receiving up to £10m for the Satellite Applications Catapult, and a further £11m for TechDemoSat (industry and academia mission) and UKube (miniature technology pioneer), Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, special interest groups and competitions. The emphasis will be on satellite data, space-based satellite systems, national and European space programmes and demonstration.
Emerging Technologies… developing, with a £7m budget for special interest groups and an innovation and knowledge centre in synthetic biology. Priority areas will include disruptive technologies, particularly synthetic biology, energy efficient computing and energy harvesting.
There will be many opportunities in the year ahead. To make sure that you are one of the first to hear about competitions, events and discussions, why not sign up to the TSB’s _connect network? Simply join up and then browse the topical networks and special interest groups that interest you most. A tip for you is to join groups that relate directly to your business or area of specialisation, and also explore groups with specialisms that may interest you as potential areas of business. There is a lot of cross- sector and cross-industry working going on, so you may find new and unexpected opportunities.
All the best
Employers, Young People (11-16) and STEM Education. Finding the Missing Link!
1 A city in crisis?
The city of Birmingham is faced with a youth crisis. In 2011 almost 8% of 16-18 year olds in Birmingham were not in education, employment or enrolled on any training course (DfES, 2011). Currently, 20% of Birmingham’s young population (18-24 year olds) are claiming Job Seekers Allowance (BCC, 2013).Many studies such as the Heseltine (2012 access here ) report have highlighted that experience of work is necessary within the education system to prepare young people for the world of work. In addition to this, a recent report by the Social Market Foundation (Broughton, 2013 )claim that there is a fundamental shortage of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) graduates in the UK which is set to increase in the future.
In January 2013 the Birmingham Employment Skills Board whose priorities are related to youth unemployment and improving the relationship between schools and employers (BESB Remit, 2012 ) commissioned a research project. It was in aid of exploring the relationship between secondary schools and employers when implementing work related learning. It also aimed to identify methods which would improve the relationship between the two parties. As of September 2012 the government eliminated the statutory duty to embed work related learning into the curriculum (Department for Education, 2013 ). Therefore, this project provided an early insight into the implication of this action.
The report identified that 90% of Birmingham schools had some form of engagement with employers in the city. However the main relationship was concerned with employers providing pupils with work experience. Outside of this there were very limited activities between schools and employers. Figure one below presents the different methods with which employers can contribute to work related learning within a secondary school.
2 Employers and STEM in Schools
Whilst my report did not specifically explore the relationship of STEM employers and schools it did instead look at the broader picture which will be focus of this discussion. Some of the points raised from the report can certainly be applied to the teaching of STEM subjects at secondary school level. One of the key findings of the report was both employers and school and pupils benefit from increase employer engagement within the education process.
A report led by Intel (2011 access here ), highlighted that there is a level of disengagement within the education system for STEM related subject. This is partly due to the lack of applicability of STEM education to real life employment prospects. This in part, is related to the lack of engagement from STEM related industries within the education system.
Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths, subjects which area wrongly perceived in the UK just to be about learning facts (Intel, 2011) when I’m sure most of us acknowledge it most certainly is not. A recent news headline addressed a concern that the new science curriculum will stifle creative, reduce practical leaning and encourage memory based learning (The Independent, 2013 ). There is a need now more so than ever for employers to engage within the education process to display to students the opportunities and realities that studying STEM based subjects will provide.
I had many opportunities to interview various employers who possessed and interest in engaging with school yet did not do so on the basis that they prioritised other work activities. Likewise, where teachers are bombarded with high workloads they also prioritise other activities that are compulsory. Subsequently, employers have virtually no relationships with schools and any relationships they may have are typically on the basis of personal contacts (i.e they have a son or daughter at the school). This was by far the biggest barrier! So the question becomes what benefits to schools and employer gain from working with each other that would enable them to prioritise working with each other. Well to start, let me present a title page (Figure two) produced by a year seven pupil for my report demonstrating just how innovative young people can be.
3 Benefits for Employers
- STEM engagement within schools can formulate as part of an organisation’s Social and Corporate Responsibility.
- Employers can advertise and market their organisation and make young people aware of their existence.
- Employers can develop engage with schools as an early recruitment method to develop interest in their organisation as a workplace.
- STEM employers need to work with schools in order to increase STEM uptake within the education system or else the skills shortage will simply widen.
- Employers can set projects for young people to complete in an area of study which they are interested in.
- Employers can use engagement with schools as a tool to develop the skills of their own workforce
There are many different means with which employers can interact with schools. Schools need to open up their doors to allow employers in and dedicate a strategy specifically related to employer engagement. Should employers and educators increase their dealings, then we are one step forward to addressing the STEM crisis in the UK.
The key message I would like to outline with this blog is this employers have just as much to gain from interacting with schools. Employers can teach young people how to apply knowledge rather than just learn it. A most invaluable skill in any profession or subject!
By Yasmin Manzoor
Undergraduate at the University of Birmingham
BSc Geography with Urban and Regional Planning