More girls needed as science and engineering lead employment boom

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Science, research, engineering and technology jobs will grow at double the rate of other occupations, creating 142,000 extra positions over the next few years, a study shows.

But there is likely to be a shortage of graduates and apprentices to fill them, the research for energy giant EDF also suggested.

More should be done to encourage girls to consider careers in sectors such as engineering and technology, said the report, published ahead of the latest unemployment figures.

Nida Broughton, chief economist at the Social Market Foundation, which conducted the study, said: "Investments in infrastructure and the pace of technological innovation means growth in science, research, engineering and technology careers will continue to outpace other occupations.

"That's a big opportunity for today's girls and a challenge for the UK's industrial strategy.

"It's essential that we invest in the skills and training so that the UK can meet this demand and encouraging more women to consider science will be critical to our success."

Jobs predicted to be created in the coming years include systems analysts, technicians, web designers, space scientist and chemist.

Sarah Flannigan, of EDF, said the company was aiming to increase its intake of women taking apprenticeships in subjects such as engineering and technology.

A Department for Education spokesman said: "We want to raise standards of achievement and participation in STEM subjects to ensure our future workforce has the skills to drive the future productivity and economy of this country.

"We agree that getting more girls into STEM subjects can play a part in this and we are taking steps to make this happen."