Study reveals STEM regrets

27% of Brits regret studying a STEM subject as study reveals 61% choose to drop them post-16

New research has revealed that 61% of Brits chose not to study STEM subjects beyond GCSE/O Level, and that over a quarter (27%) of Brits regret their decision.

The depressing study further found that almost a fifth of adults did not think STEM would be relevant to their future job or career, and two fifths (41%) wish they had felt more inspired by STEM subjects during school and college.

The research also found that the uptake of STEM subjects could have been much higher had women been give more encouragement into the subjects. 27% believe that male students are given the most encouragement to study the subjects. 

Encouragingly, the majority of people don’t want future generations to have the same regret and over 80% think it’s important we inspire young people to think about studying STEM subjects.

The research was carried out by TSB who are participating in a project with award-winning children’s author Lucy Hawking to create a new ‘Let’s Build a Rocket’ workshop for school children aged seven to 11.

For the two fifths (39%) of people who did pursue STEM subjects beyond GCSE and O Level, over a third (34%) said it was because they had a role model to inspire them. 

The workshop sees students become space explorers who design a rocket for their journey into space. Incorporating maths, science and art as part of the workshop, the initiative has been designed to encourage more children to engage with STEM subjects and to demonstrate the value and impact that numeracy and technology skills can have.  

Lucy Hawking said of the project: “Engaging students with STEM subjects from an early age helps students to build their confidence and helps them develop fundamental skills for their future learning and careers.  These are fascinating and exciting areas to explore and we hope that the TSB ‘Let’s Build a Rocket’ workbook will encourage schools and students to use their imagination and their research skills to complete the challenges.”

TSB’s Chief Executive Officer, Paul Pester, said: “As every physicist knows, you can travel anywhere in space and time with just a pencil, a sheet of paper and your imagination. I want every child to have the same opportunity to explore the universe as I have had and, even more importantly, see how STEM subjects will give them the foundation to go anywhere and do anything they want to in later life.”  

TSB’s research was conducted in February 2018 by One Poll surveying 2,000 UK adults.

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