CBI says bursary could reverse skills decline

The CBI says a bursary of £1,000 a year for science and engineering undergraduates could double the proportion of students taking these subjects

. The plan proposes action across the schools and universities system to get more young people interested in science, and help deliver the 2.4 million STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) qualified staff it says are needed by 2014. It wants to see: the brightest 40% of 14-year-olds automatically opting into separate physics, chemistry and biology GCSE courses; £120m of new funding to pay for one-to-one careers advice at ages 14, 16 and 18; better-equipped school science labs; more specialist science teachers, to inspire youngsters; and, bursaries for STEM students worth £1000 per year towards their tuition fees - at a total annual cost of around £200m. Richard Lambert, CBI director-general, said: "Too many potential scientists and engineers are abandoning these subjects at an early stage in their lives and missing out on rewarding, varied and lucrative career options."