Stakeholders from Dundee City and the wider Angus region have come together with the support of the STEM Foundation to create a regional STEM strategy to address the skills needs in their local economy. This unique collaboration between Dundee and Angus College, the local schools, government agencies, councils and other regional bodies together with universities and employers identified a number of primary STEM-related clusters that the region will need to focus its efforts on.
Grant Ritchie, Principal of Dundee and Angus College said: “The STEM Strategy is like gold dust. It is helping us to leapfrog our development in STEM education and training. The regional STEM strategy will also enable all partners and stakeholders to align their activities to optimise the results for the benefit of our students, employers and the Dundee and Angus communities.”
Digital formed a central theme in the formation of the STEM clusters together with other areas of economic growth such as healthcare and life sciences, construction, retail and logistics, precision engineering and creative industries. Winnie Mudie of Skills Development Scotland said: “Our aim is to meet the increasing demand in the jobs market for employment in digital technologies. There is so much more to the sector than just coding, which is one of the many rewarding, creative roles that shape our world and our economy in Scotland.”
A facilitated session led by the STEM Foundation addressed some of the challenges that the region face and identified a number of recommendations and possible interventions that the Dundee and Angus STEM Partnership can embrace and implement. One key area that was flagged for collaborative development is the provision of high- quality careers information, advice and guidance.
Dr Nick Brewer of Dundee University said: “Better numeracy skills and improved interpersonal skills are the most cited demand issues by STEM employers. The numeracy issue is one that we are addressing. We are now working on an internal project called ‘Numerate Campus’ which is bringing together colleagues from across all the schools to find a way to embed numeracy across our curricula.” Dr Nia White of Abertay University said: “Integrity, work ethic, professional practice, creativity and analytical are also some of the other transferrable skills that employers are keen on seeing in students.”
Professor Sa’ad Medhat, Chief Executive of the STEM Foundation said: “We are pleased to see the level of commitment and determination by the College, and by many of the stakeholders in the Dundee City and Angus Region to agree on embracing a fresh approach to STEM education. This collaboration will enable the Dundee and Angus STEM partnership to co-create a compelling STEM provision that will ultimately generate new high value employment opportunities in the regional economy. And, this is the highly prized goal that everyone should be aiming for.”