Europa omarmt agenda bètatechniek

Nieuws | de redactie
6 oktober 2008 | Nederland spant zich al jaren in om de interesse van jonge mensen in bètatechniek te vergroten. Een dergelijke benadering heeft Europa ook nodig, zo zeiden Europese captains of industry vorig week in gesprek met EC-voorzitter Barroso.

Increasing young people’s interest in Mathematics, Science and Technology (MST) is essential for sustainable economic growth and competitiveness in Europe. The European Round Table of Industrialists (ERT), a group of 45 industrial leaders from across Europe, has identified this issue as a key priority for European industry. To discuss this issue aimed attacking a potential shortfall in MST trained people in Europe, ERT organized a high-level multi-stakeholder event for academia, business, government and the teaching profession to explore ways of developing a shared approach for the promotion of MST across Europe’s schools from as early as primary school level.

ERT Chairman Jorma Ollila, Chairman of Shell and Nokia, stated that “Companies of ERT members sustain around 6.6 million jobs in the region and our industries are highly dependent on access to a skilled MST workforce. MST is the basis for innovation and competitiveness which is essential for sustainable economic growth and welfare in Europe.”

“With a declining student proportion in MST, a stabilization of access to tertiary education, unfavourable demographic trends and negative attitudes towards education and careers in MST it is evident that stakeholders need to act.”

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso supported the initiative, saying “Europe needs more highly skilled, qualified and motivated individuals to push back the technological frontiers, in order to improve economic growth and employment. Your analysis on the need to promote MST in our schools and universities is spot-on. And so is your solution. The European Commission has been calling for more partnership between education and business for some time. Together let us show the way ahead.”

ERT Vice Chairman, Leif Johansson, CEO Volvo Group commented that “ERT member companies are determined to strengthen long term commitments to supporting Europe’s schools, teachers and universities. Support must be able to survive the economic cycle.

Today’s event has reinforced our belief that businesses have an important role to play. Businesses need to work closely with schools to put MST into meaningful life and career contexts, provide access to role models and keep teachers informed of what MST careers are.”

Facilitating stakeholders at the event included representatives from the European Commission, European Schoolnet, European Industrial Research Management Association (EIRMA), Junior Achievement Young Enterprise (JA- YE)and Jet-Net. The breakout discussions confirmed ERT’s belief that existing and future collaboration needs to be better coordinated in order to leverage full potential and inspire future generations of MST students.

Jorma Ollila concluded that “We believe that this event has provided us with a mandate to take immediate steps in this direction”.

ERT will step up work with a broad range of stakeholders to develop a schools and business collaboration with the long-term aim of ensuring Europe has the right skills to thrive.

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