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Science Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM)


What is STEM?

STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

STEM subjects are integral to the UK’s success: the UK is the world’s sixth largest manufacturer, engineering turnover is around £800 billion per year, and whilst the UK makes up only 1% of the world’s population, we produce 10% of the world’s top scientific research. Despite this, it is remarkable to note that even though STEM graduates have the potential to earn amongst the highest salaries of all new recruits, employers are finding it difficult to recruit STEM skilled staff. And alongside our need for a skilled STEM workforce, it is crucial that all young people, regardless of their future career pathway, have the STEM knowledge and skills they need to be an informed citizen in an increasingly scientific and technological society.

A well-qualified STEM workforce is crucial to business and industry in the UK. Graduates in STEM subjects can expect to receive amongst the highest salaries of all new recruits. However in 2012 a CBI survey of over 500 UK employers reported 42% having difficulties recruiting STEM skilled staff.

STEM study also develops the type of analytical and numerical skills that are prized across career pathways. Young people with STEM qualifications are thus better prepared for employment in a wide range of non-STEM fields, as well as STEM jobs.

Studying STEM subjects doesn’t mean to have to stay in the exact area you choose for the rest of your working life. People working in STEM areas have often moved around a lot between different sectors – it makes you flexible with employers.

Studying STEM can help to demonstrate that you are “technically literate” – for example you can understand, interpret and draw conclusions from a graph of data even though you might not know how the data was collected experimentally.

Did you know...

  • We make more steel in South Yorkshire now than ever before.
  • 70% of all aircraft in the world contain parts made or designed in South Yorkshire
  • There is a need for 6000 new Level 3 employees in the next 5 years
  • We make more artificial hips and knees than anywhere else in Europe
  • Average salary for a professional engineer is £62k
  • Pursuing STEM subjects beyond age 16 can open up fulfilling, highly paid career paths, both in STEM industry sectors and beyond.

Interested in STEM?

Here is what you can do if you are interested in STEM subjects or a career in STEM industries:

Subject you can think about taking:


  • Maths GCSE
  • Core science (Single Award) GCSE
  • Core science plus additional science (Double Award) GCSE
  • Biology GCSE, Chemistry GCSE, Physics GCSE (Triple Science).

BTEC Diploma

  • BTEC Level 1 or 2 Engineering (if offered in school)

OCR Nationals

  • These are essentially the Vocational Qualification content split into 4 handy GCSE size qualifications.

There a several different options available to you:


  • Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies
  • Engineering Technology
  • Food Manufacture
  • Gas Industry
  • Marine Industry
  • Nuclear Decommissioning
  • Rail Transport Operations


Required for entry to STEM related higher education and valued by employers and universities as indicating academic rigour, numeracy and problems solving abilities. Favoured subjects are Maths, Further Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Biology.

Vocational science

Courses offered post-16 at entry level through to level 3 of the national framework can lead to STEM careers.

BTEC Levels 2 & 3 Diplomas

Courses combining practical hands-on experience and vocational study covering a broad employment sector such as Engineering, Science, Building Studies or Manufacturing.

Need advice, support or information on this topic?

You can always talk to a Youth Support Worker:

Want to know more?

National Apprenticeship Website -  More information about apprenticeships and current available apprenticeships in Rotherham.

UCAS Progress - find details of different courses, training programmes and providers, as well as which ones are closest to where you live.

National Careers Service - careers advice and information on a wide range of jobs, training course resources and funding.

Plotr - find out information on the different career paths available in different areas of work