East of England
Introducing the region
The East of England is made up of six counties: Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire – which are home to 5.8 million people. The region has one of the highest employment rates among the English regions, and its businesses invest more in research and development than those in any other region.
Snapshot: STEM business and industry in the region
The East of England’s services, pharmaceuticals and chemical sectors are the highest-scoring sectors of the economy. It also has the third highest number of exporters in England, with exports making up nearly a third of the region's wealth.
The region is home to a range of research-intensive STEM facilities, including the Cambridge Science Park, Institute for Food Research, Genome Analysis Centre, and the St John Innovation Centre.
The East of England produces 9.7% of the UK's total Gross Value Added.
Major STEM sectors & top employers
Aerospace – EasyJet, Thomson, Marshalls Aerospace, Astrium
Automotive – Renault, Saab, Vauxhall, Chevrolet, Ford, Lotus
Biomedical – Babraham Bioscience Technologies, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute
Microbiology – John Innes Centre
Digital & creative – Limewatch Media & Design, Autonomy, InputDynamics, Imagination Technologies Group plc, ARM Holdings, BBC Elstree
Energy – EEEGR
Food & drink – J D Wetherspoon plc, Ferrero, Pizza Hut, Nestlé, The Bay Restaurant Group, Subway
The CBI annual skills report (Learning to grow, 2012) identified 42% of employers as having difficulties in recruiting STEM-skilled employees. In 2008, Semta (the Sector Skills Council for Science, Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies) looked forward to 2014 and reported skills gaps in the workforce that offer opportunities for STEM-skilled individuals in the East of England:
- The East of England accounts for 9% of all Engineering employment and 11% of all Engineering establishments in the UK, employing 116,500 people in 7,890 businesses.
- The largest sectors in terms of employment are mechanical equipment, electronics and metal products, with above average concentrations of employment in the electronics and mechanical equipment sectors compared to the UK.
- 95% of Engineering establishments in the East of England employ less than 50 people.
- 21% of Engineering establishments in the East of England reported skill gaps, mirroring the proportion within UK Engineering.
- Employers in the East of England expected skills gaps for professionals, skilled trades (craft) and technicians would have the most significant effect on their business.
- The main skills cited as lacking in employees were technical and engineering skills at all levels; 64% of those Engineering establishments in the East of England reporting skill gaps.
- The three main technical skills gaps for the Engineering sector in the East of England were computer aided design (CAD), tool setting and welding skills.
- The generic skills gaps highlighted were key or core personal skills (13%), management skills (7%), marketing or selling skills (4%) and IT/computer skills (3%).
- Together with changes in skill requirements, qualifications demanded by employers are likely to change, with an increasing requirement for intermediate and higher level qualifications. Over the period 2008-2014 there is expected to be a net requirement within the Engineering industry in the East of England for about 6,000 people at NVQ Level 2, about 7,000 people at NVQ Level 3, about 6,000 at NVQ Level 4 and about 1,500 at NVQ Level 5 or above.
Further information is available from the Semta Engineering Skills Balance Sheet.
STEM education support infrastructure
Several organisations are working to support the development of STEM skills in the East of England. This team includes:
Enhancement and enrichment – creating opportunities to inspire young people in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Regional Director: Leslie Whyte-Venables, Leslie.Whyte-Venables@stemnet.org.uk
The Institute of Physics is a scientific society devoted to increasing the practice, understanding and application of physics.
Regional Officer: Rosie Davies, firstname.lastname@example.org
ESERO-UK - the UK space education office
Using space to enhance and support STEM teaching and learning in the UK.
Regional Space Ambassador: Anu Ojha, email@example.com