Shaping the Future of Skills

The Cambridge and Peterborough region will experience strong demand for workers with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) qualifications over the next decade, according to a new study.

The study, carried out by the STEM Foundation in partnership with the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership (LEP), found that technology-driven sectors are thriving in the area and that the local workforce will need to grow by a fifth by 2024 to fulfil employer requirements.

Demand will be strongest for highly skilled, technology-literate workers, qualified to at least Higher National Certificate (HNC) level.

The report found:

  • More than a quarter (28%) of the 200,000 working population in the area is working in a STEM-related occupation. This is a higher proportion than in England and Wales as a whole
  • Future demand for STEM jobs in the GCGP region will be predominately at professional and managerial level – increasing demand for skilled, highly qualified and technology-literate workers
  • The technology sector is thriving, accounting for 1 in every 8 jobs in the region

The report’s ten-year forecast for the area predicts employment declining in agriculture, manufacturing and public administration, but growing in all other sectors.

It also found that information technology and the energy and utilities sectors are leading the way in job creation, with a 40% growth in new jobs forecast for over the next decade. Financial and insurance services are also likely to experience high demand for new jobs.

GCGP Local Enterprise Partnership Chief Executive, Neil Darwin talks about STEM in the GCGP area.

Andrew Thomson, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges in the Eastern Region said “Colleges and training providers play an important role in assisting employers to deliver up-skilling programmes to meet replacement demand and reduce adult skills gaps”.

Michael Barnes, Head of European Programmes at the LEP said “We are actively promoting ways to improve the take-up of training by SMEs, as well as providing support to those entering self-employment and establishing them as a growing source of start-ups and small businesses in our area. With support from the European Social Fund, we are working with partners to ensure that we have a balanced portfolio of training that meets the needs of business and industry, including the re-skilling of workers already in employment and the training of new entrants to the workforce.”

Professor Sa’ad Medhat, Chief Executive of the STEM Foundation said “Technology and STEM-based sectors are thriving in the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough region, making a significant contribution to the UK economy and driving demand for versatile and enterprising workforce.  This is creating exciting opportunities for the next generation. So it is vital that education providers and industry work together to ensure that there is a coherent regional STEM skills strategy to support business and enterprise in the challenging years ahead.”

ACER is working in partnership with the STEM Foundation and GCGP LEP to further research the existing and predicted future skills needs of employers, with a view to working with providers to determine how those skills needs can be met.  Here is a summary of the research project’s purpose and aims.

Colleagues from employers in STEM industries can contribute to the research by completing the initial survey.

For more information contact Jenny Rodgers at ACER on 01480 409302 or email