The Future of European STEM Workforce: What Secondary School Pupils of Europe Think About STEM Industry and Careers
Pupil’s interest and enjoyment of learning STEM subjects is often equated with their interest in STEM careers. Yet research shows that engagement with school science and motivation for a science career are not the same as students may simultaneously report positive attitudes to STEM subjects and actively reject STEM as a future career option. Using the context of the multinational European project inGenious in this study, we examine secondary pupils’ views on different aspects of learning STEM subjects and on STEM careers. The areas covered in the study include pupil’s interest in science and technology, their views on school teaching of STEM subjects, social attitudes to the STEM sector as well as pupils’ inclinations towards STEM-related careers. We analyse the findings in relation to regional and gender differences and consider the relative role of various factors in fostering young people’s disposition towards STEM-related careers. Career choice is a complex phenomenon, and our research shows that making school lessons interesting and informing pupils about social significance of STEM subjects is important but not sufficient in swaying young people towards STEM careers. At the same time, when information about the modern state of STEM jobs and real-life applications is blended in STEM education in a meaningful way for young people, it can trigger important changes in career choices.
KeywordsSTEM education European pupils Views on STEM Interest in STEM careers
The authors would like to thank Professor Mary Ratcliffe for her help and support. The project ECB-inGenious has been funded with support from the European Commission under Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), Grant agreement no: 266622. This publication reflects the views only of the authors. The Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
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