Universities have a central role in staving off the impending skills crisis in science and technology, according to research this week from the Engineering and Technology Board. They must reach out to schoolteachers with continuing professional development and refresher courses, and they must target pupils to stop the annual decline of student numbers in these areas. Sa'ad Medhat, director of education at the ETB, said: "Are we prepared for the future UK economy? There is a discontinuity in curriculum development between schools, universities and employers."
Each year, up to 20 per cent fewer pupils choose to study the physical sciences, mathematics and engineering.