What is Talent 2030?

What was Talent 2030?

Talent 2030 was an ambitious campaign powered by the National Centre for Universities and Business to encourage more talented young females to pursue careers in manufacturing and engineering – including software development.

Why Talent 2030?

At present only 10.3% of the UK’s professional engineers are women, the lowest level in Europe. From any perspective this is a huge waste of potential talent.

The three key messages which our research shows we hope will encourage more young women into engineering are:

  • More women role models
  • More emphasis on the green and sustainable side of engineering
  • Better knowledge of future earnings

A taskforce was led by Richard Greenhalgh (former Chairman of Unilever UK) and Nigel Thrift (Vice Chancellor, University of Warwick) which led to the release of our successful Great Expectations report on the need for an increased manufacturing and engineering base for UK economic recovery. This report features an exclusive survey which has helped shape the goal and purpose of the Talent 2030 campaign.

Our role

As well as direct outreach work with schools, we have been building up the policy case for change within government, business and universities, and have published ambitious targets setting out the numbers of young women the UK needs to be studying physics, mathematics and engineering – from GCSE through to PhD.

The National Centre joined with educators, industry and business in the Your Life campaign to work towards increasing participation in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects, particularly among women. The National Centre is glad to be one of 180 organisations pledging to take action as part of the national Your Life campaign. NCUB have made several commitments, find out more here.

Our Targets for Women in Engineering

The National Centre for Universities and Business produced its first Green Paper: Target 2030: Increasing female graduates working in MTEC in 2014 which carefully outlines the need and demand for more female graduates in manufacturing, technology, engineering and computing industries.

The report explains why businesses are crying out for high-quality engineers, technicians and manufacturing business leaders and how the Target 2030 challenge of increasing the number of women studying physical and formal sciences at school and university will help attract and retain them in the MTEC labour force.

We have produced a Dashboard (below) that outlines our goals across education and the workforce. The purpose of the dashboard is to set out serious targets over a credible timeline which we will monitor every year from 2012 to 2030. You can download the Talent 2030 2017 Dashboard Report here. Click here to read about how Physics GCSE has hit gender parity this year.

*Updated March 2018

Who is involved?

Sarah Cowan is Skills Policy Lead at the National Centre for Universities and Business and runs all the engineering programmes. Sarah is passionate about talent development for women, including increasing the numbers of women in engineering and technology as well as preparing them for leadership positions across all sectors. To get in touch with Sarah click here.

The Talent 2030 campaign is sponsored by Rolls-Royce, PepsiCo and Centrica.

The History of Talent 2030

Leading figures in Industry and Higher Education launched Talent 2030 to encourage more talented young people to pursue careers in manufacturing and engineering. The campaign was originally led by the National Centre’s Director of External Affairs, Aaron Porter (former President, NUS) in 2012.

To mark the start of the campaign the National Centre published the ground-breaking Great Expectations report which finds that building a strong manufacturing and engineering base is vital to the UK’s economic recovery. The report warns that the country is failing to harness the whole of its talent base and is at risk of losing its competitive edge.

The taskforce behind the report, led by Richard Greenhalgh (former Chairman of Unilever UK) and Nigel Thrift (Vice Chancellor, University of Warwick), commissioned an exclusive survey of undergraduate girls in the penultimate year of their courses who all achieved A grades in GCSE maths, physics and chemistry.  It reveals that:

  • Less than a third of female undergraduates studying STEM subjects wish to pursue a career in the engineering and manufacturing sector.
  • Careers advice in school is lacking, with 9 in 10 of them saying they cannot remember receiving any career advice at all about manufacturing and engineering.
  • 2 in 5 of the girls said they could be persuaded to take up a career in manufacturing and engineering, but were now not doing the right degrees.
  • The sector is seen as dominated by men, dull, and lacking in excitement.

The report proposes that:

  • Schools and colleges set a target for the number of girls achieving A levels physics at grade B or above.
  • The Government includes the number of girls passing A level physics at grade B and above in school and college league tables.
  • Universities promote placements and internships in all manufacturing and engineering courses.
  • Business commits to supporting a major manufacturing and engineering mentoring scheme, particularly aimed at girls before they reach 14.
  • Design and Technology is made more academically rigorous and should be included in the English Baccalaureate.

Aaron Porter, former Director of the Talent 2030 Campaign, said:

“The vital subject choices made by thirteen year olds have enormous consequences for their future career and also the UK economy. Our campaign will encourage young people to look at the compelling evidence which shows that not only can jobs in manufacturing and engineering make a huge contribution to our society, but they also deliver a bigger earnings premium than many other careers. By sharing the findings of our research we hope to inspire more young people to seriously consider careers in manufacturing and engineering, and opt for subjects that will enable them to do this like physics and maths.”

“Talent 2030 will highlight how rewarding careers in engineering and manufacturing can be.  We will work with young people, schools, universities and industry to ensure we harness the talent we need to create the very best leaders of the future.”

Richard Greenhalgh (former Chairman of Unilever UK) co-chair of the Talent 2030 Taskforce, said:

“A strong manufacturing and engineering base is vital to our economic recovery.  If the UK is to compete internationally we have to create an environment in which talented young people are able to flourish in engineering.”

“With the university entrants of 2030 about to be born, the need to address the flaws in our education system and encourage more girls to pursue careers in these sectors is particularly urgent. “

And Professor Nigel Thrift (Vice Chancellor, University of Warwick) co-chair of the Talent 2030 Taskforce added:

“If the country is to emerge from the recession and remain internationally competitive, we have to maximise our talent base.  We need to encourage more women to pursue careers in engineering and manufacturing.  If we continue to fail to make use of the talent of more than half the population we will fall behind our international competitors.

“This campaign will work to address young people’s perceptions of careers in industry.  Not only can they be financially rewarding, but they are also key to tackling the environmental challenges we face.”

Jane Wernick (FREng), a leading structural engineer, who worked on the London Eye, is a supporter of the campaign and says:

“If our manufacturing and engineering industries are to thrive we need to attract the very best people.  It’s a great pity that we have so few women engineers.  It means we are missing out on the talents of half the population.  We need to make young people aware of how rewarding and varied a career in engineering can be. I think it is one of the most creative fields to be engaged in. Our work touches people’s lives at almost every level, and it’s great to have a job where you actually contribute to making things.  In particular, with the challenges of global warming engineers have a huge contribution to make to a greener economy.  “

“I hope this campaign will trigger greater engagement between industry and schools, so that young people have an opportunity to discover how exciting careers in engineering and manufacturing can be.”

Philip Greenish, Chief Executive of the Royal Academy of Engineering, said:

“The Great Expectations report demonstrates that the UK will only continue to be in the business of producing high added value goods and services if we start planning now. Currently we struggle to recruit women into engineering and this is denying us the diverse perspectives that produce genuinely fresh thinking. We need new ways of attracting the best talent into engineering – both women and men. We also need to accelerate our productive industries if we are to keep up with rising international competition. The right talents and skills are the keys to this and we are reminded by the report that the talented engineers of 2030 are being born right now, so time is of the essence.”

Paul Jackson, Chief Executive of EngineeringUK, said:

“We welcome CIHE’s findings and look forward to a greater involvement in a real programme partnership to addressing the UK talent pipeline issues, building on the partnership of the professional bodies, business and government in The Big Bang and the Tomorrow’s Engineers careers and schools programme. Together we can ensure that young people are inspired, pick the right subjects and understand how to make the transition from their study of STEM at school into Further and Higher Education and on to the world of work.”