Imran Rasul- Group Procurement Director, BAE Systems
BAE Systems is committed to encouraging more young people, especially girls, into STEM related careers to ensure that we have a strong pipeline of talent from which to recruit our next generation of engineers. As part of the ‘Starting Out’ workstream, we have worked with the Women’s Business Council, Wilmot Dixon and Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) to produce a How-to-Guide for Small Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs). The guide offers support in how to become STEM ambassadors and deliver activities to local schools and youth groups to encourage more young people, into STEM related careers.
The STEM sector is crucial to the UK economy with 265,000 skilled entrants required annually. As a STEM employer we have a vested interest and responsibility to inspire the next generation and ensure we continue to develop the talent pipeline in the UK; this interest is not just focused on our own organisation but on those around us. We want to support our supply chain and our partners to ensure that they too are focused on future talent.
The guide provides SMEs with information and resources on how to become STEM ambassadors and have an impact in their local community. By utilising the guide, SMEs can help to tackle the UK STEM skill shortage, present themselves as an employer of choice in their local community and build a diverse workforce of high quality employees.
At BAE Systems we have further developed an engineering specific version of the guide which we are using to work with our own supply chain to help them become STEM ambassadors and deliver the activities advocated in the guide amongst their local schools and youth groups.
To further embed this activity, some of our procurement employees have become STEM partners – pairing with the SMEs as part of their existing supplier relationships. These STEM partners have completed the STEM ambassador training themselves to be able to support the SMEs and guide them first hand through the training. They can then work together to deliver the activities, as recommended in the guide, to young people in their local community.
We all have a collective responsibility to make a difference and address the STEM skills shortage and this guide provides help to be able to do that. I invite SMEs to consider how they can use the guide and encourage larger organisations to work more closely with SMEs to increase the impact we have on encouraging young people into STEM careers.
The work of the Women’s Business Council is so important for this agenda and we are really proud to support and be a part of it. I look forward to working further within my own business to develop this work and also hearing about the successes of others who help to address the STEM skills shortage.