19 October 2015Beth urges youngsters to study maths and science to prevent skills shortage
Olympic gymnast Beth Tweddle today urges more youngsters to study maths and science.
Experts warn Britain faces an “emergency” over the shortage of science skills among would-be job applicants.
And 2012 bronze medallist Beth, who studied maths and physics at A-level , said: “We have a very important role to play in inspiring young people, particularly girls, to continue with science and maths post-GCSE.
“If I hadn’t persevered with maths and physics at A-level I would not have been able to study the degree I wanted - a degree that has helped me in my post-gymnastics career and setting up my own business.”
Beth spoke out in her role as patron of Your Life, a campaign encouraging youngsters to study maths and science, and backed by some of Britain’s biggest blue-chip firms.
Your Life chairman Edwina Dunn said: “We face an education emergency in this country. We now have more job vacancies requiring science qualifications than all other subjects put together.
“The vast majority of students reject science at around 16. I believe this is because too much emphasis is placed on grades by schools, universities and employers to the extent that subjects have almost become of secondary importance.
“We urgently want to inform young people - and their parents and teachers - that they can and should stop rejecting the sciences in favour of subjects that are seen as easier and/or more socially relevant.
“By doing so, they are closing the door to more than 50% of the jobs on offer. These subjects may be harder but, ultimately, studying them could count for more than achieving top grades in other subjects.”
Meanwhile, business leaders today call on ministers to boost science and innovation funding in next month’s Spending Review .
Hiking cash for the sector would raise productivity and benefit the economy , the Confederation of British Industry said.
Research revealed the Government spends just 0.49% of the UK’s national income on research and development - the lowest among the G8 group of leading economies.
Director-General John Cridland said: “While our economy is doing well, we must not be complacent, as we cannot afford to rest on our laurels while our peers pace ahead.
“Instead we need to build on our research excellence by fuelling the UK’s innovation ecosystem with investment, fresh ideas and skills.
“With the UK’s research and development spending the lowest among the G8, we are falling ever further behind our international competitors and must take action so that we lead from the front.”