Why Cambridge Science Centre?
Not enough UK scientists
The rapid pace of technological and environmental change today means the world needs our young people to get involved with science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). Yet this isn’t happening as quickly we all need it to, and the UK is falling behind other countries in science:
- By age 11 most young people are already turned off science, seeing it as ‘too academic’ for them
- Four in ten UK employers have problems recruiting staff with STEM skills
- Eight in ten businesses think the skills gap needs to be bridged for the UK to be competitive
- Experts believe it will take over ten years to close the gap*
Why the skills gap?
The causes of this ‘STEM skills gap’ (STEM being Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) are complex and to do with the history of our culture, of our education system and our class system. One thing is for sure: a notion persists in the UK that science and maths are only for a certain ‘type’ of person from a certain background.
At Cambridge Science Centre we are committed to opening young people’s eyes to the wonders of science and introducing some of the fun and rewarding STEM careers available.
Doesn’t Cambridge have enough science?
Of course, Cambridge itself reverberates with its own amazing scientific history and academic magnificence. Yet significant numbers of schoolchildren and communities on our doorstep have a very low level of opportunity to get involved in science and STEM subjects compared to the rest of the country.
For example, 64% of our visitors in summer 2017 had never visited a science gallery or museum before.
Some generally affluent areas, including Cambridge, are social mobility ‘cold-spots’, where the education system is failing to offer children from lower income families the best opportunities. In Cambridge, 17% of children live in poverty, while in Peterborough 23.6% of children live in poverty.
The region as a whole has the highest level of investment from the tech sector in Europe, but our local young people are unlikely to benefit from the opportunities this sector offers without high quality STEM education. Without confidence and understanding they are not equipped to pursue the STEM opportunities through education and employment that could help to break the cycles of deprivation across the region.
So how can Cambridge Science Centre help?
Our vision is of a world where young people of all backgrounds can experience hands-on adventures in STEM – adventures that will inspire them to do well in life and make a positive contribution to their communities.
Our unique and award-winning approach is really working: since 2013 we have sparked the curiosity of almost 300,000 children and had fantastic feedback from the young people and adults we have contact with.