Date lodged: 25 November 2016
To ask the Scottish Government what progress is being made with its initiatives to increase the number of people graduating in STEM subjects.
Answered by: John Swinney 6 December 2016
STEM education and training is vital for meeting the demands and challenges of our economy and for building the society we want to see now and in the future. The Scottish Government have a comprehensive and ambitious plan for improving Scotland’s STEM talent and capability. For the first time we have published a plan that coordinates all of the work underway to promote STEM skills and capability across all age ranges and settings in one strategy, and we are outlining the Scottish Government’s future plans for improving the STEM talent pipeline. The consultation was launched on 8 November 2016 and will run until 31 January 2017. We will publish a final version of the Strategy next Spring. We will set ambitious targets for Government and its agencies to drive delivery.
Universities are committed to improving take up of STEM degree courses. The number of entrants to first degree courses in STEM subjects at Scottish universities has increased by 15 per cent, up 3,155, from 21,125 in 2006-07 to 24,280 in 2014-15. The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) funded a total of 1,200 additional university places for STEM subjects over the four-year period 2012-13 to 2015-16, and, between 2013-14 and 2016-17 the SFC is funding nearly 1,200 additional places for undergraduates in key skills, including STEM.