STEM selling

Many important people call for things in the press. I’d like now to call for our young people to take part in science, engineering, technology, maths and design for the good of the national economy and to help solve our Global Grand Challenges.

Only by having people love science, and not treat it with derision, can we expect to solve problems like global warming, the debt crisis, litter, the ozone layer and disease.

First, we need to inspire young people to study maths, science and biology at school. Why not create a roadshow in your town or a YouTube video describing your exciting project -maybe even a glossy newsletter to help inspire other youngsters to get involved? Someone important who understands the business side may see it and decide to mentor you or even make new products from your ideas!

Only when fresh young minds realise that they can have meaningful careers as teachers and engineers will our economy be healed. Owning things and thinking independently after all, are much less important than a fulfilling career with the certainties that having a nurturing boss and job security can bring.

Teenagers especially must be made to understand, eg by our most charismatic billionaire consumer goods manufacturers and pop physicists, that £22k a year, without distracting perks, is actually fundamentally better than becoming a filmstar or a football player. Better for society and better for themselves. STEM subjects can be seen as a form of healthy volunteering and good for the soul -not to mention cool. Who knows, by studying these demanding subjects with reassuringly rigorous exams and no pressure for creativity, they may one day win a business plan competition and appear pitching for investment venture capital on tv!!

Everyone understands that sciencey subjects are great fun as well as challenging. If it hurts, it must certainly be doing you some good!! Britain has the world’s best scientists of course and they set a shining example for young folk. They have job mobility so they work in the US and have such a great time there inventing science and doing stuff with equations. It’s very kewl  “lol” 😉

Understanding the vital importance of all this, we will soon create a new white heat of technology and find lots of other ways for our young people to fit into the heirarchy of Industry (It’s no longer true at all that only redbrick third-raters work there. Oh no…just look at all the children of cabinet ministers vying to gain apprenticeships).

When young people are given jobs they can feel at once that they are contributing to the economy via their taxes -no need for boring office jobs when you can really get your hands dirty being told exactly what to do and making high-quality manufactured products for others to own.

STEM subjects have something for everyone. Keen, young, vibrant, creative types can learn to do the drawings and select nice colours. Maths whizzes can calculate the profits. Engineering boffins will fix things that break and girls will often be treated as if equal. What a glorious future awaits us if only everyone could get one good GCSE pass at grade E or above in a science-related subject.

We must accept that not everyone can be a lawyer or a banker of course. Those vocations require special skills, such as the ability to withstand the enormous pressures of being a grown up. Choices are a dreadful burden to the fresh, scientifically-trained mind. All our young people need to recognise where they fit in and to apply their burgeoning talents to the tasks placed before them, perhaps even doing a technical degree at one of our premier-league universities.

Yes, donning that labcoat could be their first step towards a bright, STEM-based future and who knows, maybe even result in the next Google or Microsoft!


(If this relentless oversupply of technical training, in order to keep down the price of real scientists and engineers, makes you as angry as it does me, see this article in which James Watson is quoted as saying “We’re training people who really don’t want to think, they just want to have jobs…We may be training too many scientists.“)