Plant & Works Engineering
Poor school careers advice deterring future engineers
Published:  16 July, 2014

UK pupils are receiving poor careers advice from teachers who lack understanding of business and industry, according to a new poll by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

The survey reveals 42% of the 2,030 people polled think careers advice/guidance in UK secondary schools is poor, with 26% saying it’s adequate. Only 10% believe the advice is good.

The results come as the Institution launches a new Teacher Industrial Partners’ Scheme (TIPS), which will see science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) teachers being offered two-week work placements within industry to help them better explain the highly diverse career opportunities to their students.

The scheme, launched in conjunction with Project ENTHUSE, the National Science Learning Centre and the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), was unveiled at Formula Student, the student motorsport event which took place at Silverstone.

The survey also shows 42% of people think secondary school teachers have a poor understanding of business and industry in general, with 30 % saying they have an adequate understanding and just 9% believing it to be good.

Additionally, 57% of people believe teachers should undertake two-week work placements to improve their understanding of different career options.

Peter Finegold, head of education and skills at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said:

“The perception the UK public has regarding secondary school careers advice is entirely accurate – it just isn’t good enough at the moment.

“We presently face a massive skills gap in the UK and it’s absolutely vital that we are encouraging young people to study STEM subjects and take one of the many highly rewarding careers that scinece and engineering have to offer.

"Good careers guidance in our schools is the engine of social mobility. We know that young people look to their teachers for advice, yet only 9% of the UK population feels that teachers have a good overall understanding of business and industry.

"The Teacher Industrial Partners’ Scheme (TIPS) is an exciting partnership of employers, professional bodies, charities and educationalists, that will provide teachers with a fantastic opportunity to see first-hand what it’s like to work in modern industry.”

The poll asked 2,030 members of the public on their views on secondary school careers advice and was carried out by ICM on behalf of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.