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Schools Roadshow Launch 2018

Young people are more inspired by Zuckerberg than Beckham

Research shows that almost a quarter of young people aspire to a career similar to Mark Zuckerberg and maths is deemed to be the most valuable subject

Posted by Lucinda Reid | March 02, 2018 | School life

A quarter of 14 to 18-year olds said they would rather follow in the footsteps of innovator Mark Zuckerberg (23%) or tech genius Bill Gates (28%) for careers over household names such as Ed Sheeran (17%), David Beckham (9%) and Kylie Jenner (9%), according to research from BAE Systems.

The study has uncovered a surprising shift in perception of STEM among young people, revealing over half of 14 to 18-year-olds (56%) deem maths to be the most valuable subject for future career prospects, followed by English (50%) and science (42%). Two thirds (62%) of those currently studying STEM have also said they are likely to carry these subjects over to university.

The findings have been released as BAE Systems, the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy come together again to launch this year’s nationwide Schools Roadshow. Alongside The Royal Academy’s #ThisIsEngineering campaign, the roadshow, now in its thirteenth year, aims to inspire and instil excitement among school pupils around STEM, in the largest ever schools programme of its kind.

This year’s Schools Roadshow focuses on maths, with a series of workshops and demonstrations to showcase various applications of the subject, from robotics and coding through to the use of maths in iPhone technology and even magic. 

The study’s findings could be attributed to the increase in the number of STEM advocates in the public eye in recent years, as the top ten people 14 to 18-year-olds are most inspired by, when thinking of their future career, are revealed as:

1. Bill Gates (28%)

2. Mark Zuckerberg (23%)

3. Steve Jobs (22%)

4. Professor Brian Cox (18%)

5. Ed Sheeran (17%)

=6. Tim Peake (14%)

=6. Jessica Ennis (14%)

7. Zoella (12%)

=8. Jennifer Lawrence (11%)

=8. Beyonce (11%)

9. Jeff Bezos (10%)

=10. Kylie Jenner (9%)

=10. David Beckham (9%)

Not only are young people starting to see the value of STEM for their future career, maths is also unveiled to be the most enjoyable subject (45%), followed by English (40%) and science (39%), while media studies was the least enjoyable (9%).   

Richard Hamer, BAE Systems’ Education and Early Careers Director, said: “It is great to see more young people considering a degree or career in STEM and becoming more aware of the exciting opportunities available to them through these subjects. At BAE Systems, our engineers work in a variety of different roles, from designing submarines for the Royal Navy, to developing innovative virtual reality technology for leading athletes to improve performance or even working on wearable tech for the British Army and the latest fighter jets for the Royal Air Force. Initiatives like the Schools Roadshow are so important, especially as this is the Year of Engineering, to ensure we continue to excite young minds and inspire the next generation of scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians.”

Commenting on the roadshow, Captain Dave Joyce of the Royal Navy, said: “The Royal Navy is delighted to be supporting the BAE Systems education roadshow again in 2018. Science, technology, engineering and maths are vital skills underpinning both our technologically-advanced navy and the UK economy as a whole. Making these subjects fun and interesting at school is essential to ensure that children are keen to become the engineers and technicians of the future.”

Now in its thirteenth year, the Schools Roadshow, BAE Systems’ flagship education programme, will be heading to 420 schools in 2018, reaching 95,000 young people.

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